James Norman, wearing jeans, a gray shirt, and a red and blue welding cap works on some metal canisters

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Many veterans find transitioning back to civilian life to be difficult, a feeling that James Norman knows all too well.

Having served in the U.S. Army for 20 years, Norman is no stranger to the physical and mental challenges that can come with military service. Still, he has found ways to keep moving forward.

“I left the Army in 2014 and began working in the oil fields (around Houston),” he said. “I was lucky to have the support of my family, parents and wife, every step of the way.”

His time in the oil fields sparked his interest in welding. A resident of West Columbia and later Needville, he would take I-69 every day to work. On his commute he would pass by Texas State Technical College’s brand-new (at the time) campus in Rosenberg.

“I knew welding was what I wanted to do and I saw TSTC had a program for it,” Norman said. “The school, the veteran’s association here, the instructors, it has all been great.”

Norman and his wife are looking to move to Rosenberg so he can be closer to school and she to her work. Upon graduation, he wants to set up a small welding business in the area.

“The discipline I learned in the military has helped me in enduring the hardships of life,” he said. “For veterans just getting out, I would say to find a good counselor and think about going to school. It has been a big help to me.”


TSTC offers Welding Technology at all 11 of its campuses. An Associate of Applied Science degree and several certificates of completion in various specializations are available, depending on campus location.

The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee, which refunds a participating graduate’s tuition if he or she has not found a job in their field within six months of graduation. For more information, visit tstc.edu/mbg.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

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