North Texas

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus continues to strengthen relationships with municipalities throughout Ellis County. Midlothian, in the northwest part of the county, has proven to be a supportive partner in promoting technical education to residents.

“There has been a lot of collaboration with Midlothian,” said Marcus Balch, TSTC’s provost.

And, there are a lot of people in the area to recruit as potential students.

The city had more than 33,000 residents as of July 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About 93 percent of residents age 25 and older have at least a high school education. Twenty-nine percent of residents have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Kyle Kinateder, president and chief executive officer of the Midlothian Economic Development Corp., said TSTC plays an important  role when companies are considering sites in the city. The city has the Midlothian Business Park and RailPort Business Park where companies can consider locating.

“We provide our prospects a variety of information on the many training and educational opportunities available in our community; however, it’s far more impactful when we can connect them with one of our many existing businesses that have a positive, first-hand experience working with TSTC,” he said. “This company-to-company approach helps to ensure our prospects that TSTC was there for our existing businesses and they will be there for them too.”

Kinateder said TSTC’s Automotive Technology, Computer Aided Drafting and Design, Engineering, Precision Machining Technology and Welding Technology are some of the technical programs fitting in with Midlothian’s economic plans.

“A resident of Midlothian could pick from any of the programs and graduate fully qualified for the many open jobs currently available in our area,” he said.

TSTC’s Workforce Training department has done specialized training in the past for the Target Distribution Center and Gerdau Ameristeel, both in Midlothian.

Balch said Gerdau Ameristeel continues to send employees to study in the Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization program. The first cohort of company workers graduated from TSTC in summer 2018.

Jayelle Kryder, Gerdau’s human resources manager, said the company has had three graduating cohorts with 31 employees and another two cohorts, or 18 workers, now studying at TSTC. She said the employees come from throughout the plant.

Kryder said TSTC has been able to adapt the curriculum to the company’s specific needs and equipment. The company works with employees’ schedules to enable them to attend classes one day a week. 

“We have been very fortunate to work with such a collaborative team at TSTC,” Kryder said. “Our employees come away from the program with comprehensive technical knowledge in industrial maintenance. We place these students in (Gerdau’s) maintenance apprenticeship positions early in the program so they can pair the technical knowledge they gain at TSTC with hands-on experience at our plant. We have found that to be the best approach to their development.”

Darrell Phillips, manager of Mid-Way Regional Airport in Midlothian, has had meetings with campus leaders on how to work together in the future.

“We do have an interest in education,” he said. “We want to do some sort of educational program at the airport for our region. I want to get the kids in our area interested in aviation. We are open to looking at some type of opportunity.”

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