(HUTTO, Texas) – Alejandro Garcia Puente, of Round Rock, is excited about the career change he is making as a student at Texas State Technical College in East Williamson County.
“Most of my jobs have been construction-related,” he said. “This will be more technical.”
Garcia Puente is scheduled to graduate in December with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems – Mechanical Specialization.
“I feel confident,” he said. “I can go anywhere with what I have to get a job and make a career.”
Garcia Puente, and several other students in the program, will get experience this fall as paid apprentices at ICU Medical in Austin. The company has employed several TSTC students in the past as apprentices and later moved them into full-time jobs, said Lance Antilley, lead instructor in TSTC’s Industrial Systems program.
In Hutto, residents can see various industrial buildings in different stages of construction on Innovation Boulevard across from the East Williamson County Higher Education Center, where TSTC’s East Williamson County campus is located.
“Texas Highway 130 is here, and you can draw people into this location without the traffic congestion you get in other areas,” said Bob Farley, the city of Hutto’s economic development director. “It extends the reach, so people have more choices north, south, east and west.”
Farley said Hutto is fortunate to have TSTC to provide technical training.
“If someone is setting up shop here, they don’t have to worry about where they can physically go for people or to identify people they want to hire,” he said.
Richie Cooper grew up in Hutto and now resides in Bartlett. He is scheduled to graduate in December with the program’s associate degree.
He is ready to begin his apprenticeship at ICU Medical.
“I’m excited to get in there and work out with my mind and hands,” Cooper said. “It will be my first real job, and I am looking forward to it. It’s a good place to start a career.”
He said more people should pursue the Industrial Systems program because workers are needed.
“Trade jobs are in such high demand, especially with all of the development going on,” Cooper said.
The average base salary for industrial mechanics in Texas is more than $59,000, according to Indeed.com. The highest-paying cities in the state for workers are Austin, Coppell, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, according to the website.
Industrial Systems is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee. Other eligible programs include Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology, Electrical Power and Controls, Instrumentation Technology, Precision Machining Technology, Process Operations Technology, Robotics and Industrial Controls Technology, and Welding Technology. These programs were chosen because they are in high demand in Texas.
Students in their first semester are eligible to sign up for free with campus Career Services representatives. Students are able to take part in workshops to learn about resume writing, interview techniques, and other employment skills.
Students who are not hired in their field within six months after graduation will be eligible to get a tuition refund for their time at TSTC.
Registration continues for the fall semester at TSTC. For more information, go to tstc.edu.