(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College showed East Texas residents on Saturday why their future can be brighter with a technical education.

The first TSTC Future Fair in Marshall highlighted 11 technical programs on campus, many of which serve industries in need of qualified workers.

Visitors of all ages did hands-on demonstrations, such as the virtual welder, toured labs and ate at food trucks parked next to the South Building on campus.

“We have had visitors as young as middle school,” said Patty Lopez, TSTC’s regional director for dual enrollment. “In eighth grade, students have to choose a career path. Hopefully this can lead to dual enrollment classes and then coming here.”

Michael Calhoun, a senior at Harleton High School, made his first visit to TSTC.

“My guidance counselor told me to look into this college because I am interested in information technology,” he said.

Calhoun said he looked forward to graduating from high school and starting college.

“It will be a lot of fun and a change,” he said. “I felt really welcomed today, especially by the people giving the campus tours.”

Alex Hernandez, a senior at Jacksonville High School, drove with a friend more than an hour to Marshall to attend the event. He said he enjoyed talking to faculty and staff members learning about TSTC.

Hernandez said he is interested in studying Process Operations, which combines electronics, engineering, instrumentation and troubleshooting for the chemical, gas, petroleum and other industries.

Industry was also represented at the event to show the more than 50 people who attended what career possibilities are in the region.

Joe Razza, a regional recruiter at Crown Lift Trucks in Arlington, said students going to college to prepare for the workforce can have an impact on their families.

“There are a lot of opportunities in the trade industry and that ties into the mission of TSTC,” said Razza. “You need to get your hands on it and experience it before you make a career of it.”

Fidelity Communications Co. in Marshall provided a $1,000 scholarship that was drawn early Saturday afternoon for a student planning to attend TSTC this fall.

TSTC worked with the Marshall Independent School District and the Marshall Economic Development Corp. to put on the event.

For more information about Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

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