Justino Rivera is a Welding Technology student at TSTC’s campus in Harlingen.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College student Justino Rivera remembers being introduced to welding by a high school friend who had a welding machine at his home.

“I found the welding techniques he showed me interesting,” Rivera said. “(He) mentioned that McAllen High School had a welding program. I met Mr. (Alejandro) Soto, who used to be the welding teacher. Mr. Soto explained the benefits that a welding career can provide.”

While still in high school, Rivera found out about TSTC by way of a SkillsUSA competition that the college hosted at its Harlingen campus. He met the college’s welding instructors and was encouraged to sign a letter of intent to study welding that came with a $1,000 TSTC scholarship.

“It was a perfect way to begin college,” he said.

Rivera graduated with a certificate of completion in Welding Advanced Pipe Specialization from TSTC last year. Now he is furthering his education in the same program by pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree.

“The instructors told me, ‘If you want to become great, you have to perfect your craft,’” he said. “Their words motivated me.”

The McAllen resident added that his experience at TSTC has changed his life.

“The college has given me a new perspective on jobs that I can pursue,” he said.

TSTC welding instructor Raul Saldivar said Rivera’s commitment to furthering his education is admirable.

“Justino is a fast learner who finds approaches to ensure his skills meet the highest quality,” he said. “As he progresses, I’m confident that he will become a great welder.”

According to onetonline.org, welders, cutters, solderers and brazers earn a yearly median salary of more than $48,180 in Texas. These jobs were expected to increase in the state by 23% between 2020 and 2030, according to the website.

Welding Technology is one of nine programs at TSTC that have money-back guarantees. For more information, visit tstc.edu/mbg.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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