(WACO, Texas) – Tania Segura, a senior at La Vega High School, is motivated to learn about welding and how it ties into her interests in architecture and construction.
Segura is in her second year of taking dual enrollment classes in Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program at the Waco campus. She and some of her classmates travel on Fridays to the campus to learn and to weld.
Segura said she enjoys the feeling of independence that she has in her welding classes.
“This is a good experience to work on and have,” she said.
Segura said more women should pursue welding because it can diversify the male-dominated field and they can make good money.
Setting students up for great futures is one of the goals of the dual enrollment partnership between TSTC and La Vega High School.
More than 25 La Vega students are taking first-year welding courses, while eight seniors are taking second-year welding courses. Students earn college credit for every class completed.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity we have with La Vega in students coming to our facility and receiving college-level training,” said Austin Allen, program team lead in TSTC’s Welding Technology program.
Chris Ward, La Vega High School’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) coordinator, said students expressed interest in welding.
“I think the familiarity in having family members in welding plays a big role,” he said. “They see that family connection.”
Ward said it takes flexibility in scheduling the high school students to go to TSTC’s campus to take classes. He said taking dual enrollment classes enables high school students to be part of the college experience and learn about soft skills and time management.
Hector Montes, of Bellmead, is a La Vega High School senior taking second-year welding classes at TSTC. He said the classes have introduced him to a lot of new processes. Montes said he has enjoyed learning from his instructors and being around college students.
“You have more maturity here at the college and a lot more people to talk to in this atmosphere,” he said.
Montes said he wants to return to TSTC after graduation and eventually get a good-paying job with a company.
La Vega High School also has 11 sophomores, juniors and seniors taking courses in TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program. Students travel to TSTC to take the classes.
Registration continues for the spring semester. For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.