(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Texas State Technical College Electromechanical Technology instructor Arnoldo Soto has seen his students find success with a wide range of industries.
The need for quality employees is high, Soto said, and he wants to continue TSTC’s tradition of placing Texans in great-paying jobs around the state.
“Our graduates can go anywhere and work immediately. They can go to an electric company, be a factory technician or work on the wind turbines,” he said. “This is a catch-all program that offers so many opportunities for our graduates.”
Soto said students learn how to troubleshoot control systems, programmable logic controllers, pumps, compressors and power devices. In addition, students will learn how to use supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA) and communication networks for smart-manufacturing operations.
“You do not need to have any experience with any of our equipment to begin this program,” Soto said. “We are going to show you the proper way to operate and maintain things in our lab.”
The hands-on training drew Lufkin resident Alayna Botts to the program.
“The equipment is a lot better here than most places,” she said. “We have so much equipment to train with so we can learn what needs to go where.”
Soto uses his experience as a sonar technician in the U.S. Navy to train students. He also worked in San Antonio as an industrial technician. Students see Soto’s experience as a benefit to draw on.
“He knows a lot about the things we need to know,” current TSTC student Hugo Martinez said. “He will walk us through each aspect of the project and show us what needs to be done. I like to see how things are done and not just read it in the book. The hands-on approach we have is the best way to learn.”
Soto is excited for the return of dual enrollment students in the fall. This will be the first group of high schoolers to return to campus since 2019 amid the COVID outbreak.
“It was great to get out there and talk to high school students about the program,” he said. “I hope that I can build on what they learn and they come back to school and finish the degree program.”
Graduates of the program have found employment throughout the country, including Chevron, GE and Texas Instruments. Soto said the trend of hiring graduates will only increase with more people earning degrees.
“Our students usually have a job lined up before they graduate,” he said. “That is the best way for us to tell people our story.”
Martinez agreed, adding that this is a program designed for people who like to work.
“I hope more people look at this program,” he said. “If you do not know what you want to do, but enjoy working with your hands and on electronic equipment, this program will give you multiple opportunities to make a living.”
According to onetonline.org, the need for electromechanical and mechatronic technologists and technicians will increase by 13% by 2028. The website states that the median salary for these technicians in Texas is $52,010.
TSTC offers a 20-month Associate of Applied Science degree in Electromechanical Technology and a certificate of completion, which takes approximately 16 months. Both are available exclusively at the Sweetwater campus.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.