Fort Bend County

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Electrical Lineworker Technology and Welding Technology programs at the Fort Bend County campus are expanding.

“Those have been two of the hottest trades in the region for several years,” said Jeremy Heath, executive director of the Rosenberg Economic Development Corp. “Everyone who goes through either program has a job in hand upon graduation or very quickly after. And these jobs pay well, so the city gets an immediate return on its investment in TSTC, because those paychecks get spent at our local businesses.”

The Electrical Lineworker Technology program’s building will be expanded, said Randall Wooten, TSTC provost. The Welding Technology program in the Industrial Technology Center will double the number of welding booths. Both programs anticipate accommodating more students when the fall semester begins.

“We are open in our fourth year (here) and are ratcheting up with the projects,” Wooten said. “We can see that in a year or so we will need more room or turn students away.”

The Electrical Lineworker Technology program will get additional classroom and storage space, along with more poles for students to practice their skills. Wooten said the program will grow to accommodate 90 students. Students will also have the opportunity to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL) while in the program. The program has two trucks that will be shared with TSTCorkforce Training.

“The employers want the CDL because there are big pieces of equipment with trailers that need to be towed,” Wooten said. “In order for them to get the jobs and get in the front of the line, if they have a CDL, that helps them a whole lot.”

Eric Carithers, TSTC’s statewide chair of the Electrical Lineworker Technology department, said linemen are needed. Recent TSTC graduates in Fort Bend County have been hired by CenterPoint Energy and North Houston Pole Line.

“All of them in that area are making excellent money,” Carithers said. “We are trying to accommodate the growth of the enrollment and the demand in the area.”

The number of electrical line installers and repairers is projected to increase nationally to 128,900 by 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Lineworker Technology and an Electrical Lineworker certificate.

The Welding Technology program is expanding into an open storage area being fitted with 80 more welding booths. Wooten said the program will have the capacity to accommodate 240 students after the expansion.

“Houston is a large area and highly populated,” said Ashley Yezak, TSTC’s statewide chair of the Welding Technology department. “I know we are making a smart move in order to offer more availability so we can run more sections and serve more Texans.”

Yezak said the expanded space will give flexibility in offering a mix of day and night classes as necessary. 

The need for brazers, cutters, solderers and welders nationwide is projected to grow to more than 439,000 up to 2028 due to the nation’s aging infrastructure and the construction of new power generation facilities, according to the federal labor statistics bureau.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology and certificates in Structural Welding and Structural and Pipe Welding.

TSTC is an important tool that the Rosenberg Economic Development Corp. uses in its recruiting efforts. Heath said the city is seeing rapid residential and commercial growth.

“A skilled labor force is the number one most important factor in recruiting new businesses to our city,” he said. “The price of dirt, reasonable tax rates and financial incentive packages help seal the deal. But every prospect I have spoken to in almost six years of business recruitment asks the same question first: Do you have a strong enough workforce to accommodate my needs?”

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