(MARSHALL, Texas) – Supervisors at the Sabine Mining Co. in Hallsville see little turnover in its mobile equipment department.
The more than 40 employees, some being graduates of Texas State Technical College, work on bulldozers, forklifts, hydraulic cranes and other heavy equipment for mining operations. The company currently has one full-time diesel equipment mechanic opening.
Matt Hampton, the company’s mobile equipment department maintenance manager, said finding the right employees is a challenge. Hampton said the company looks for employees through online job sites and career fairs. He said the two biggest qualities sought in job candidates are aptitude and attitude.
Hampton said the company uses TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology students as paid interns, and many are hired after graduation.
“We like having the interns around,” Hampton said. “It gives them a chance to do a year to two-year interview. If the timing is right and the person is right, we will hire them.”
The number of bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists in East Texas is projected to grow to more than 1,000 up to 2026, according to the Texas Workforce Commission’s Labor Market and Career Information Department.
Hannah Luce, a campus coordinator for TSTC Career Services, said internships are important because students get work experience as they attend classes. And, she said companies are seeking TSTC’s graduates.
“Our Diesel Equipment Technology instructors know the importance of hands-on learning and expose the students to many different projects in the shop to help them be prepared when they graduate,” Luce said.
Some of the projects students work on come from residents who own diesel equipment. Michael Sanders, a TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology instructor, said the labor is free to residents but they have to purchase needed parts. And, they need to be patient.
“They cannot rush us because we teach as we are doing the job,” Sanders said.
Sanders said the experiences the students have can take them wherever they want to work.
“It is up to the student if they want to do well and it is hard on them, but that is the way life is nowadays,” he said. “Most of our students that graduate go into the mechanic profession. I have them working in Midland. I have had some in Kilgore. I have some working in Longview. We do a lot of interning with companies out there.”
TSTC in Marshall’s Diesel Equipment Technology program has more than 60 students this semester studying for certificates or specialized associate degrees.
TSTC also offers Diesel Equipment Technology on the Fort Bend County, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.