(ABILENE, Texas) – U.S. Navy veteran James Johnson had some downtime in his life.
“I decided I wanted to go back to school. I knew I could use my GI Bill,” said Johnson, a student in Texas State Technical College’s Industrial Systems program.
In fact, Johnson already knew some of the things he would learn in the program. While in the Navy, Johnson worked with electronics, satellite communications and information technology systems.
When he left the Navy, he entered the workforce as a calibrator for Texas Aerospace Services. But the downtime came, and he wanted to learn more.
“When you see what is in here (TSTC’s Industrial Technology Center), everything is offered in this one program,” he said. “Welding is just one aspect. This program offers you multiple opportunities.”
Another reason he chose TSTC was the help he received from Annette Collins, the Veteran Services program officer in West Texas.
“Annette is one of the reasons I started here. She knows what veterans need to do to get into school,” Johnson said. “She would sit down with me and help me with each step.”
Collins was equally impressed with Johnson.
“I was so honored to talk to him because he holds all the values of a veteran,” she said. “I saw the potential in him, and I felt that Industrial Systems would be great for him. He has all the skills to do great things in that program.”
While touring the program, Collins introduced Johnson to the instructors. The introductions strengthened her belief in Johnson.
“After he talked to the instructors, he was more enthusiastic about the program,” she said.
Johnson said instructors Daniel Diaz and Demetri Jones prepare students for the future.
“They are very thorough while we are in the lab,” he said. “I came in knowing some things, but I have learned so much more.”
Johnson said the program offers students several opportunities.
“I have been learning about pumps and boilers. That is something I have not known much about,” he said. “We are covering it all. We talk about it, and the instructors explain what we need to do.”
With different areas being covered, Johnson said students should be prepared to do one thing.
“Be prepared to devote your time to this program. What we do in the lab two days a week is easy,” he said. “The hard part, for me, is to take the time and commit myself to working online before coming here. You will need to look at all of the material.”
For more information, visit tstc.edu.