(WACO, Texas) – They share a name, a certificate of completion and a devotion to diesel work. And they are both candidates for graduation at Texas State Technical College.
Cameron Bourgeois, of Bourne, and Cameron Wheeler, of China Spring, are scheduled to receive certificates of completion in Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck at TSTC’s Fall 2021 Commencement on Saturday in Waco.
Bourgeois wanted to stay close to home to work after graduation so he could continue helping out at his family’s ranch. He said growing up working with hay, animals and farm equipment inspired him to pursue his field of study. He will begin work in January at Stehling & Walker Garage in Comfort.
“I feel I have a lot more accomplished,” Bourgeois said. “I’m excited.”
Bourgeois said he enjoyed learning about engines in his classes. But he learned quickly that college is a lot different than high school work.
“I had to get down and focus on what’s going on,” he said. “At TSTC, you are learning how to be successful, and the instructors are teaching you what to do to be successful when you get in the real world.”
Wheeler began work in August at Lonestar Truck Group Freightliner in Temple doing body work and preventive maintenance. Upon graduation he will convert to full-time work.
“It’s a big relief to have work already,” Wheeler said. “I feel like I am ahead of the folks who are looking.”
Wheeler grew up working with his father on diesel trucks, which factored into his decision to attend TSTC. He also likes the pay.
“I have met a lot of people,” he said. “There are a lot of smart instructors here. I grew up some. It’s been good.”
The students said their advice to high school students is to seriously consider two-year colleges to have lower debt.
“TSTC means an opportunity for growth and development,” Wheeler said.
Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists in Texas are making a yearly median salary of more than $49,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website. Texas is projected to need more than 34,000 workers by 2028.
David Folz, lead instructor in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program, said industry representatives continue to tell him that businesses need qualified diesel workers.
“They are really looking into our program to see what we are covering more now than ever,” he said. “Most do not realize that we do more than just diesel engines. We cover the whole machine. With the different levels of the program, industry is finding students at the level they need, whether it is basic work, like maintenance, or more in-depth, like engine overhauls.”
For more information, go to tstc.edu.