(ABILENE, Texas) – Arend Bali believes that the more knowledge a person has, the better they will be in life and a career.
Bali was born in Albania and moved to the United States while in high school. He has held many jobs around the country since graduating from Cooper High School in Abilene, and he wants to add to his resume an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems from Texas State Technical College.
“I have always liked being able to work with my hands,” he said. “I think the more knowledge you have, the more prepared you will be in life. I have always wanted to learn how machines work.”
From a young age, Bali has watched his family work on building different things.
“Mechanically, everything we can have knowledge about will help you with a career,” he said.
Bali chose to study Industrial Systems because of the diversity in career options that it can lead to.
“The culture at TSTC is very welcoming,” he said. “The hands-on approach of learning is something I have been doing since a young age. Studying Industrial Systems will give me different trade options when I complete my degree.”
Although Bali has not yet decided what job he plans to pursue, whatever it is will join a long list of jobs on his resume. Over the years he has been a store manager, a certified personal trainer and a general manager, and he currently helps with his family’s business, Joe’s Pizza, in Abilene.
“My family is happy I am pursuing something I am passionate about,” he said.
Terry Steelman, an Industrial Systems instructor at TSTC, said Bali is showing his potential to be a leader during class.
“Arend is always working hard. If he is slacking in something, he does not hesitate to ask for help,” Steelman said. “He is always engaged with us.”
Bali said spending two days in the TSTC lab has been the best part of the week.
“The instructors have the lab so well organized,” he said. “They want to make sure we do each task properly before we move on.”
The instructors remind the students each day about one thing in particular, Bali said.
“Safety is the top priority,” he said. “With everything we do, from walking in the door to leaving at the end of the day, safety is ingrained in our heads.”
Bali said he enjoys working on the equipment because it brings something to life.
“We get to shape things, from electricity to the box we are building in class,” he said. “It starts out as this rough material, and in time it becomes a beautiful shape. When that happens, it is a feeling of accomplishment for me.”
The need for industrial machinery mechanics in Texas will increase over the next few years. According to onetonline.org, such positions were expected to grow by 35% in the state between 2020 and 2030. The average salary for an industrial machinery mechanic in Texas is $57,600, according to the website.
At its Abilene campus, TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems – Mechanical Specialization and several certificates of completion.
Industrial Systems is one of nine programs at TSTC that have money-back guarantees. The college’s commitment to students is simple: If they do not have a job in their field within six months of graduation, then they will receive a full refund of their tuition. For more information on the Money-Back Guarantee program, visit tstc.edu/mbg.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.