(WACO, Texas) – A high school speech class assignment was what convinced Chance Mulanax, of Fort Worth, to attend Texas State Technical College.
The project involved researching and talking about a college of his choice. Mulanax chose TSTC for his subject, and ultimately he decided that the Waco campus was the place to be.
After starting to study computer programming at TSTC, he decided to switch to the Industrial Systems program because of past experience working with his family.
Mulanax is pursuing a certificate of completion in the Industrial Systems program and is scheduled to graduate in summer 2023. He said so far he has enjoyed learning about how electricity works.
His goal after graduation is to stay in Texas to work.
“I want to expand my life for new adventures,” he said.
TSTC’s Industrial Systems program teaches students a variety of skills. Students learn how to work with boilers, compressors, hydraulics, programmable logic controllers and other equipment.
“Students must simply come ready to learn with a curious mindset and with a need to understand the how and why of the way things work,” said Jeffrey Williams, an instructor in TSTC’s Industrial Systems program. “They need an appreciation for the mechanical world that they have inherited, as well as an industrial mindset and a base knowledge of the industrial workforce.”
Jose Valdez, of Odessa, was a pipeline welder in the oil fields before coming to TSTC. He said it got to a point where he was not able to sustain a job due to the work climate.
“Within time it will catch up to you,” Valdez said of the strenuous work.
Valdez is part of the first generation of his family to go to college. He studied in TSTC’s Instrumentation Technology program before moving to the Industrial Systems program. He is working toward a certificate of completion in the Industrial Systems program and is scheduled to graduate in summer 2023.
He said tying knots and knowing how to splice wires can be of help when entering the program.
“Getting a career puts me at the pedestal I want,” he said. “I want to go everywhere, wherever that is. I’m trying not to limit myself.”
Industrial machinery mechanics in Texas made a yearly median salary of more than $57,000 in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website. The state will have a need for more than 53,000 industrial machinery mechanics in 2030, the website showed.
“The number of jobs associated with industrial systems maintenance is vast and will vary depending on employer,” Williams said. “A graduate might find work as a maintenance technician in a distribution warehouse maintaining forklifts and conveying systems. A graduate might find employment installing motors and pumps, maintaining electrical substation equipment in switchyards for a power utility company or maintaining production lines for companies.”
TSTC’s Industrial Systems program has electrical and mechanical specializations. The electrical specialization is taught at the Marshall and North Texas campuses. The mechanical specialization is taught at the Abilene, East Williamson County, Fort Bend County and Waco campuses.
TSTC offers associate degrees and certificates of completion in both specializations. An occupational skills achievement award in Basic Industrial Systems Electrical is available exclusively at the Marshall campus.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.