Texas state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst visits the Robotics Technology lab Wednesday, March 23, at TSTC.

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Texas state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) visited Texas State Technical College’s Fort Bend County campus Wednesday, March 23, experiencing firsthand the hands-on training that TSTC offers to students.

“It’s incredible what TSTC is doing here on the Fort Bend campus and systemwide for our state and our country,” Kolkhorst said. “They are providing and training skilled workers that go straight into the workforce.”

Campus provost Bryan Bowling agreed, adding that technical fields are critical to a healthy economy.

“Having Sen. Kolkhorst further support and validate this message really hit home,” he said. “Showcasing our programs, rock-star faculty and students is always a blast, but perhaps even more so to such an avid supporter of our mission. It was a delight watching our senator so incredibly engaged with our faculty and students.”

In the campus’ Brazos Center, Kolkhorst watched as Robotics Technology instructor Charles Sparks demonstrated the vision system on a robotic arm, and she discussed the job opportunities that are available for graduates of TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls program with instructor Jonathan Bonkoske.

TSTC Welding Technology instructors Jerroll Hodge and Alex Deibert invited Kolkhorst to try her hand at welding — virtually. The senator donned a helmet that allowed her to simulate a MIG (metal inert gas) weld, fusing one virtual plate to another while the system graded her on her technique.

“Your speed was spot on,” Deibert told her, discussing the results.

In the Precision Machining Technology lab, Kolkhorst watched a CNC (computer numerical control) machine craft a toy tire rim from aluminum as instructor Deogratias Nizigiyimana described the programming language required to execute the task.

TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology instructor Jose Reyna demonstrated how a diesel fuel injector works.

“The instructors have real-life experience,” Kolkhorst said. “They’re not somebody that would just train in a classroom. They were working in the industry, and then they came to TSTC.”

Kolkhorst cheered on Electrical Lineworker Technology students as they climbed in the pole yard, emphasizing the importance of what they will do in their future careers: keep the lights on in Texas and beyond.

“We have seen such a need for a trained workforce, especially post-COVID,” she said. “Real-life applications — everything from robotics to linemen — make our country run.”

Throughout her campus visit, Kolkhorst connected with students from different programs, asking what they plan to do following their training and expressing hope that they do it in this region.

“All these different skills make America strong, and that’s the role TSTC is playing right here in Texas,” she said. “I cannot begin to express how important TSTC is to the state of Texas and to our nation.”

Learn more about TSTC at tstc.edu.

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