North Texas

(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College and a Waxahachie insulating glass manufacturer are in the early stages of building a partnership to bolster the career possibilities for Industrial Systems students at TSTC’s North Texas campus.

“They have been great about working with us,” said Lily Connolly, Cardinal IG Co.’s recruiting manager in Waxahachie. “It is a work in progress because we are trying to figure out how many people we may need to recruit from the technical degrees. We are looking for the technical background for our maintenance technicians.”

Earlier this semester, the company hired its first TSTC Industrial Systems student for part-time job-shadowing work. Wyatt LaFleur, of Balch Springs, is working toward an associate degree and is scheduled to graduate in December. He works two days a week shadowing company maintenance technicians. The part-time job complements his class schedule.

“No day is going to be the same,” LaFleur said. “It is about new problems, new techniques, new corrections. There is absolute job security because there is always going to be a need for maintenance.”

LaFleur said he will continue working at the company full time upon graduation.

“It’s fun and relaxed, and I like it,” he said. “There are really good people here.”

Though the company’s primary need is for maintenance technicians, Connolly said the company could offer part-time opportunities in the future to students in TSTC’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology and Welding Technology programs. The company has more than 300 employees.

The company will undergo an expansion in the next couple of years, meaning more opportunities for workers with maintenance-type skills.

“Our maintenance department is phenomenal, and it is sought after,” Connolly said. “A lot of people want to work in it. The leadership is phenomenal. The lifestyle of our maintenance technicians is very much desired.”

Texas will have a need for more than 8,000 machinery and maintenance workers by 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website. Workers in Texas can make a yearly median salary of more than $46,000 a year.

According to, a career-expert website, the top areas that maintenance technicians need to have knowledge in include electrical systems; heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; and hand tools.

Jarriet Durham, lead instructor in TSTC’s Industrial Systems program at the North Texas campus, said the Dallas-Fort Worth area has numerous opportunities for graduates, including electrical and millwright internships.

“They can work on commercial construction equipment, automated supply-chain equipment and power generation systems, as well as industrial manufacturing equipment,” he said.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems – Electrical Specialization and a certificate of completion in Industrial Systems Mechanic – Electrical at the North Texas campus.

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