Alfredo Aldape

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Some Texas State Technical College students are flying high because as SkillsUSA gold medalists they will advance to the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference that will be held June 20-24, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Alfredo Aldape, Omar Escalon, Carina Garcia, Caleb Garza, Carlos Lara, Adrian Nacianceno, Alfredo Martinez, Isela Munoz and Raymundo Salinas will represent TSTC’s Harlingen campus.

Amanda Posada, interim provost at TSTC’s Harlingen campus and the college’s statewide dual enrollment executive director, said after two years TSTC students finally had the chance to return to compete in person at the recent SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference in Houston.

“Their success is a perfect example of the quality of instruction our TSTC instructors provide to ensure they are trained and skilled for industry,” she said. “Having the opportunity to compete in nationals in June is one of the most exciting moments for our students and TSTC faculty. Our instructors not only demonstrate passion for their field, but also teach teamwork, communication, decision-making, professionalism and responsibility, which is what SkillsUSA prepares students for. Together, we build a stronger, more skilled workforce for the state of Texas.”

Nacianceno, of Edinburg, represented TSTC’s Aircraft Powerplant Technology program in aviation maintenance. He said his success resulted from general aviation studies and the research provided by his instructors.

“I was in Houston the week prior to the competition to take an exam to earn my license in aircraft airframe,” he said. “Luck was in my favor because what I studied for was the project I did in competition.”

Nacianceno said he is anxious to compete again.

Munoz, of San Benito, represented TSTC’s Vocational Nursing program in medical math. She said being enrolled in that course during the fall semester was her key to success.

“The prior knowledge I had in that course became my review,” she said. “But I also reviewed practice exams and continued to repeat those with my instructors.”

Munoz said the next round is important to her.

“I am representing my program for TSTC in Harlingen, and that is a big responsibility,” she said. “I am nervous, but I am ready for the experience.”

Salinas, of Harlingen, also represented TSTC’s Vocational Nursing program, but in medical terminology. His 15 years of experience in health care played a key factor.

“I worked at a family practice in Tamaulipas, Mexico,” he said. “A few years later I worked as a phlebotomy and medical assistant instructor at an area technical school. Now I work at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen. My professional experience, the lesson plans and the worksheets my instructor (Beyda) Ramirez provides have benefited me.”

Salinas said he knows that the final round will be much more competitive.

“I am speed-testing to prepare,” he said. “My course book has these small tests. I am training my brain by answering questions in less than two minutes and remembering key words.”

Escalon, of La Feria, represented TSTC’s Welding Technology program in Welding Fabrication with fellow program students Garza and Lara.

He said their preparation corresponds to the welding assignments.

“Our SkillsUSA advisor, Mr. (Juan) Avila, has prepared us with everything we need,” he said. “We mimic every detail of what our instructors demonstrate, and it has worked.”

Escalon, Garza and Lara are aware that receiving a top honor will initiate a buzz for the program.

“We were informed it is the first time in probably 10 years welding students will compete at the national level,” he said. “It was our first time competing at the state competition. So we are looking forward to the competition in June.”

The SkillsUSA platform provides postsecondary students with the opportunity to demonstrate the skills they have acquired in their education. The national level raises the bar. It provides them with a unique credential of top honors that may help them get hired in the Texas workforce.

To learn more about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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