(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Texas State Technical College hosted state Rep. Ed Thompson, R-Pearland, for a visit to the Fort Bend County campus on Tuesday.
Thompson, led by TSTC staff, visited the Tesla START Apprenticeship Program located on campus, along with the Electrical Power and Controls, Precision Machining Technology, and Robotics and Industrial Controls Technology programs.
Bryan Bowling, provost of TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus, said legislative visits like Thompson’s are a great way to show how the state’s money is being invested in the workforce.
“It’s always great to see the faculty interact with a visiting VIP and show genuine interest in talking about their craft,” Bowling said. “It is also great to see student involvement.”
Thompson said Texas needs an educated and well-trained workforce to help draw more industry to the state.
“We rely on a lot of these disciplines that are taught here (at TSTC) to be able to keep industry moving and growing,” he said. “We are having more and more of the workforce that are reaching the retirement age, and we are going to have to replace those folks. These young men and women are learning those skills to be able to go out into the workforce and be able to replace many of the skilled labor that we have today.”
During the tour, Thompson learned about TSTCYou, which meets students where they are through a flexible, performance-based education (PBE) model that works with busy schedules. In PBE, students work with an enrollment coach to develop a schedule in two-hour time blocks. Lectures, videos and other learning content is on Canvas, a learning management system. Instructors also do mini-lectures during the day, with tests being demonstration-based, online or written.
Students in the Cybersecurity, Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology and HVAC Technology programs are currently learning under this model.
“I think PBE is the future,” said Keith Klix, an instructor in TSTC’s HVAC Technology program. “It means flexibility and accessibility. It makes sure every student masters every skill required by the industry.”
Thompson watched a climbing demonstration by students in the Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology program. Edward Nunez, a program instructor, gave the command for students to start climbing the poles; once they were at the top, Thompson gave the order to climb down.
“It’s great that he could see students out in the pole yard and learn that we put them in good-paying careers,” Nunez said.
Thompson visited the Welding Technology program, which has 160 booths for hands-on work by students. The representative donned a welding helmet and gloves and tried his hand at flux-cored padding flat beads.
Thompson represents Texas House District 29, which encompasses a portion of Brazoria County. He is vice chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.