(BELTON, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology program at the Waco campus and the Belton Independent School District joined together to host a plumbing event for students at Belton High School on Thursday, Dec. 1, and Friday, Dec. 2.
About 20 high school juniors and seniors in the construction careers program talked to plumbing industry representatives, did hands-on work with TSTC’s Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology students, learned about backflow prevention, and operated a Caterpillar simulator.
“In the plumbing field, the sky’s the limit,” said Tony Montoya, an instructor in TSTC’s Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology program.
Nathaniel Hernandez, a senior at Belton High School, said his goal for the event was to learn and improve his skills. He has competed in plumbing events through SkillsUSA. He plans to attend TSTC and join the Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology program next fall.
Evan Hall, a junior at Belton High School, said he found the industry representatives informative. He said his parents are encouraging him to pursue a technical field after high school. Hall already has plumbing experience, having worked as an apprentice doing a summer job at Cooper and Bright Plumbing Co. in Harker Heights.
TSTC students enjoyed the experience of working with the high school students.
Fabian Camargo, of Cumby, is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology at TSTC. He is working at RK Plumbing and Septic Services in Waco while taking classes.
“It’s helped me learn about the codes and the regulations in the cities,” Camargo said.
He said he is glad that the Belton students had the opportunity to work in depth during the two days.
“I’m glad to see the kids like something,” Camargo said. “They need to embrace technology and pay attention to how to use it.”
Camargo became interested in the field through his father, who did dairy and plumbing work. He started working at Powers Plumbing Co. in Commerce before attending TSTC.
Joseph Garcia, of San Angelo, is already a certified plumbing apprentice pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in TSTC’s Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology program. He works at Central Texas Plumbing Solutions in Waco while attending classes.
Garcia said it was pleasing to see the high school students so passionate about learning about what the TSTC students do.
“I think this is a great thing,” he said. “I think trades are very under-talked about in high school.”
This is the first time that plumbing has had such an emphasis in the high school’s construction careers program, said Michael Carrillo, the high school’s construction instructor. He said collaboration between education and industry means an investment in the future workforce.
“They (the students) love it,” Carrillo said. “Anytime industry can come in and show them the profession, they get excited. They are getting life experiences from them.”
The top three high school students who were judged to do the best hands-on work received TSTC scholarships.
Registration is underway for TSTC’s spring semester. For more information, go to tstc.edu.