(ABILENE, Texas) – Railroad Commission of Texas Commissioner Christi Craddick left Texas State Technical College’s Abilene campus on Thursday, Oct. 20, with a new impression of the state’s next generation of workers.
Craddick toured programs in the Industrial Technology Center and Aviation Technology hangar to see the equipment that students train with on a daily basis. When she completed the tour, Craddick praised what TSTC has accomplished for state employers.
“I appreciate what is being done to educate the next round of our state’s workforce,” she said. “We need more welders and we need more electricians in our state. We also need more EMTs (emergency medical technicians), and they are being trained right here.”
During her tour of the TSTC hangar, Craddick was able to use the latest virtual technology to maneuver an airplane on a computer and stand inside the college’s cockpit simulator while an engine started.
“It is great to see people being trained to work on airplanes,” she said.
Craddick said other TSTC campuses are playing important roles in filling the workforce.
“In Sweetwater, where I grew up, they are training automotive mechanics,” she said. “Our state needs more mechanics to fix our cars.”
Craddick said training technical workers is important to the commission, the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry, gas utilities, pipeline safety, safety in the liquefied petroleum gas industry, and surface coal and uranium mining.
“This is an important time for the Railroad Commission, and TSTC is doing everything it can to train our future workforce,” she said.
Texas, according to Craddick, is a high-growth state, meaning jobs are opening daily in all energy fields, from oil and gas to wind and solar.
“Oil and gas are going to be here for a long time, but we have other energy as well. Wind is important, and we all know that West Texas is known for the wind,” she said. “We need a little bit of everything to keep going. That is where TSTC is important to us.”
During the tour, Craddick visited with different instructors in Aviation Airframe/Powerplant Technology, Electrical Power and Controls, Emergency Medical Services, Industrial Systems and Welding Technology.
During the stop in the EMS department, Craddick was able to see how students train in the Immersive Interactive lab and how it can benefit them in the field.
“This is really impressive to see the technology being used,” she said.
Justin Price, associate provost for the Abilene campus, said Craddick understands TSTC’s mission.
“We were happy to welcome Commissioner Craddick to our Abilene campus today so she could see how we fulfill our mission of placing more Texans in the workforce,” he said.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.