(ABILENE, Texas) – Balancing a full-time job, family and school is nothing new to Alfred Rodriguez.
The 2020 Texas State Technical College graduate is back in the labs, studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems. Rodriguez previously earned a certificate in Diesel Equipment Technology from TSTC, but he wanted to add to his resume.
“I cannot wait to earn my associate degree,” he said. “I know having that additional degree will help me in the future.”
Rodriguez hopes it will lead to more opportunities at his current job with Republic Services, a solid-waste collection service.
“I hope to be able to work at Republic’s recycling center, working on the equipment there. I want to help run the equipment and be part of that facility,” he said. “Working toward an associate degree will help me with that goal.”
Rodriguez said his employer helps him out because of the long hours. Working full-time takes a toll on getting his online coursework done, but Rodriguez said earning a degree is the best motivation.
When working in the lab, Rodriguez said it reminds him of his time in the TSTC diesel lab.
“This is the best part for me, getting the chance to work on things,” he said. “This is my element. I have found something I really like doing, and that is working on equipment.”
Instructor Terry Steelman said Rodriguez is a natural when it comes to working on equipment.
“He has a lot of knowledge and will be good at anything he wants to do,” he said.
Having earned his Diesel Equipment Technology certificate before beginning Industrial Systems was also a benefit.
“A lot of the things I learned in diesel are carrying over to this program. Industrial Systems is just a little more in-depth when it comes to working on things,” he said.
Rodriguez still uses his knowledge of the oil field to help him complete assignments.
“I knew I would have to be knowledgeable in different things. For me, some of it is the basic stuff I have seen during my oil field career,” he said. “The instructors make sure you know what to do because they want you to succeed.”
Rodriguez said with his work experience, along with a certificate and degree from TSTC, he will be set up to provide for his family.
“I worked in the oil field for 15 years, I know how to work on diesel engines, and I will soon complete this program,” he said. “That will look great on my resume, and I know my boss is excited to see what I can do for our company.”
Registration for the fall semester is underway. Scholarships are available. For more information, visit tstc.edu.