(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Francisco Duran’s career will begin before he is able to celebrate with his classmates at Texas State Technical College’s commencement ceremony next month.
Duran, who is working toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Wind Energy Technology, will begin his internship with German printing press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer on April 25, three days before the commencement ceremony.
Duran said he is excited to begin the next phase of his life in Germany.
“The company really impressed me when they came to visit with us,” he said of an industry spotlight detailing the internship program. “This company really does take care of their own.”
Duran said instructor Billie Jones pushed him to apply for the program, and he will join the ranks of other TSTC graduates who have interned at the company.
“During my third semester, I decided to apply for it. Billie wanted me to go for it,” he said. “I was not really expecting to get a response after the interview, but I did.”
Duran said he was one of five TSTC students who interviewed for the internship and is excited to continue the tradition of working for the company.
Chris Talbert, Koenig & Bauer’s senior vice president of service and operations, said during last year’s spotlight that TSTC provides the company with good apprentice applicants.
“It is good to be partnering with TSTC because the school is a good source of students with the skills needed to work on our presses,” he said. “Not many technical schools offer the type of training available at TSTC.”
Duran said hearing Talbert’s presentation was another reason he decided to apply.
“Chris really knew how to talk to us and gave us the motivation to apply,” he said. “The presentation was a great way to take a different look at a career.”
When Duran began the Wind Energy Technology program, he planned to work on offshore turbines in the Northeast. Those plans are being put on hold, for now.
“I know Koenig & Bauer will set me up for a career,” he said. “They have employees who have been working there for more than 30 years. In the future, I could work on turbines, but right now I am set up with a great opportunity.”
One person who was especially happy to hear that Duran, who is a resident assistant on the Sweetwater campus, has been accepted into the program was Lupe Navarrette, housing director at TSTC in Sweetwater.
“It has been amazing to see him develop over the two years he has been here,” Navarrette said. “I am so proud when I hear about our students being set up for a career, especially when it is one of my resident assistants.”
Duran said one drawback of being accepted into the internship program is that he will not be able to spend extra time with his family.
“My family is really happy for me with the opportunity. They are trying to find a way to come be with me in Germany,” he said.
The internship represents another important first for Duran and his family.
“I am the first person in my family to graduate high school and the first to attend college,” he said. “I am working to make my family proud of my accomplishments.”
TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion at the Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.