North Texas Government Affairs

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s North Texas campus hosted a visit Wednesday by Rep. Brian Harrison, R-Waxahachie, who represents District 10 at the state Capitol.

“In the short time we have known him, he’s demonstrated that he deeply cares about what we are doing here at TSTC and, more importantly, he cares about the success of our students and TSTC’s ability to support local industry with skilled workers,” said Marcus Balch, provost of TSTC’s North Texas campus.

Harrison visited the Electrical Power and Controls, HVAC Technology and Welding Technology programs and saw labs used for the Diesel Equipment Technology and Industrial Systems programs.

“I could not be any prouder of the programs here at TSTC,” Harrison said. “They are equipping and training the next generation of workers to provide for their families, their communities and their state.”

Harrison said many four-year degrees being offered today do not meet today’s workforce needs. He said the perception of attending a two-year technical or community college versus a four-year university needs to change in the state.

“I want people to be maximally educated, but as efficiently as possible,” he said.

Harrison donned personal protection equipment as he tried gas tungsten arc welding. Joseph Francia, lead instructor in the Welding Technology program, oversaw his work.

“For me, it’s a great opportunity to expose him to what we do here,” Francia said. “I think he did pretty good.”

Harrison said he wanted to learn more about TSTC’s funding formula and the return on the investment of education dollars spent.

Harrison talked to students while visiting some of the programs.

Roger McClennan, of Fort Worth, is a veteran working toward an associate degree in the HVAC Technology program. He told Harrison about how he has adjusted to the performance-based education model the program is using.

“There is a time crunch, but I do not feel pressure,” McClennan said.

Harrison quizzed students in an Electrical Power and Controls class on where they lived. Colby Seale, of Palestine, is a second-semester student in the program who told the representative about his commute to and from classes. Seale said he chose his program based on the availability of jobs in the state and his interest in electricity. 

Lee Cockrell, an instructor in the Electrical Power and Controls program, said having visits from state leaders like Harrison can hopefully grow the campus and its programs.

Wednesday marked the second time that Harrison has visited the campus.

“Rep. Harrison has taken a strong interest in the programs we offer, the great-paying jobs we place our students in, the return on investment we provide to Texas taxpayers, the improvements we implement in the Texas workforce, and the appreciable benefits we bring to the Texas economy,” said Andrew Parks, TSTC’s director of government relations in the Office of Government Affairs.”We believe Rep. Harrison will be a great friend to the college in the Texas Legislature.”

Harrison represents all of Ellis County and a portion of Henderson County.

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