(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Zach Taylor is ready to use his military training in Texas State Technical College’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.
Taylor, a native of Arkansas, began the program this semester but never expected to attend college to learn a trade. That changed after his four-year tour with the U.S. Marine Corps.
“I did some things in the service that were pretty cool, but it is great to use that experience and learn a trade,” he said.
Taylor worked on light armored vehicles in the military and plans to continue that career path by working on diesel engines.
“I am more of a hands-on person, and I know a career working on engines will be best for me,” he said. “I have a little experience with diesel, so I am ready to get into the meat of the curriculum.”
Taylor, who is studying for an associate degree, said is looking forward to the transmission lectures and hands-on training.
“I did not do a lot of that work in the military,” he said. “I know there are so many different pieces to the transmission and the instructors will be there to guide us.”
Instructor Shannon Weir said students like Taylor enjoy the challenge of learning the technology.
“Students come in and think they may know some things, but find out there is a lot more to a diesel engine,” he said. “They like to be challenged, and that is what we want to do as instructors — challenge them to do their best.”
Weir said Taylor and other students get more out of the program the deeper they get involved.
“Students enjoy it more when they are part of the work, and that helps when they start looking for jobs,” he said. “Shop supervisors look for our graduates because they know they are ready to work on day one. A lot of our graduates climb the ranks to supervisor really quickly, and that is great for us as a school.”
Taylor is adjusting to life after the military and admitted that having to complete assignments is tough. However, it is easy to get help with a quick text message or phone call.
“If I do not understand something while studying at home, the instructors are always a click away,” he said. “Having their experience in the lab is great. We can always talk to them about a problem we encounter.”
Registration for the fall semester is underway. Scholarships are available. For more information, visit tstc.edu.