Jesus Manrique-Garcia

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Many automobile aficionados who have a passion for the automotive industry set out to achieve a dream of establishing their own automotive mechanic shop.

That is the commitment of Jesus Manrique-Garcia, a first-semester Automotive Technology student pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree at Texas State Technical College.

Manrique-Garcia developed an interest in the automotive field through both of his grandfathers who are former diesel service technicians from Mexico.

“I decided to follow in their footsteps, and my mother said she would like one of her sons to be a mechanic,” Manrique-Garcia said. “Before I graduated from San Benito High School, some TSTC Automotive Technology instructors visited to recruit. One instructor mentioned they have many graduates who have earned great career opportunities. I have minimal knowledge, and I want to learn more. So I enrolled.”

In the first few days of the fall semester, Manrique-Garcia enjoyed how the Automotive Technology instructors spoke about the program’s expectations.

“They were very clear about what needs to be accomplished,” he said.

Manrique-Garcia’s plan is to become familiar with various types of vehicles in order to elevate his expertise. He has also expressed an interest to his instructors in learning about diesel trucks.

“My instructor mentioned that the Diesel Equipment Technology program is available at the Waco campus after I complete this program,” he said.

Manrique-Garcia said he is excited about the opportunities that the program will provide.

“Automotive dealerships will always need a mechanic,” he said.

Miguel Zoleta, a TSTC Automotive Technology instructor at the campus in Harlingen, said he is excited to begin a semester with many new students.

“This fall semester brings new opportunities, such as performance-based education courses with extended hours of operation,” Zoleta said. “The Automotive Technology program is now providing evening courses Monday through Friday until 8 p.m. This will help bring in candidates that are working full-time jobs.”

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology and an Automotive Technician certificate of completion at the Harlingen, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. Several other certificates, including Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair, Chrysler Specialization and Tesla START Technician, as well as a Basic Automotive occupational skills award, are also available depending on campus location.

The need for qualified automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow in Texas over the next several years. According to, Texas employs more than 60,000 of these technicians around the state, and that number is forecast to top 65,000 by 2028. The average annual salary for a technician in the state is $46,680.

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