TSTC Mechatronics Technology student Seihda Valverde works on a mechanical drive as part of a performance assessment administered by Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas test.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – In a recruiting effort to identify potential qualified employees for Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, company representatives recently visited the Mechatronics Technology program at Texas State Technical College.

Students who had already completed a written assessment by the company were given a hands-on test in the areas of mechanical drives, motor controls/electrical wiring, pneumatics, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

Carlos Reyes, a TSTC Mechatronics Technology instructor, said 13 of his students passed the tests.

“According to Toyota assessors, some students scored exceptionally well in all areas,” he said. “Four students had perfect scores in PLCs.”

Albert Ramirez, a human resources staffing analyst for the company, said the quality of training that TSTC students receive is among the best he has seen.

“Toyota Motor Manufacturing is continuing the hiring process for a job as a skilled team member for four students in January at our company’s location in San Antonio,” he said. “Then we will proceed with the other nine students in March at the same location.”

Harold Archer, a skilled group leader of talent development for the company, said the visit also helped strengthen the relationship between Toyota Motor Manufacturing and TSTC.

“Toyota sets the bar as a world-class employer, and developing strong relationships with premium schools such as TSTC helps us ensure we are hiring world-class employees,” he said.

Archer added that the students who were tested were confident and capable in manipulating PLCs and electrical circuit wiring.

“These are our most sought-after skills in a candidate for hire,” he said. “The future of manufacturing will require more and more automation, and the skills acquired at TSTC set these students up for success at Toyota.”

Omar Cantu, of Edinburg, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree.

He said the testing was specific to real-world situations.

“I applied my perspective into that scenario,” he said. “I enjoyed the mechanical drive because I had to put a motor and gearbox together to ensure it was operating correctly. The purpose was to troubleshoot a conveyor belt on the production line if an error were to occur.”

Seihda Valverde, of Alton, is also studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree.

She said she enjoyed the PLC test because PLCs are her strong suit.

“I thrived under the challenge and pressure of that test because it was timed,” she said. “It gave me an idea of what I would encounter in the industry.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians can earn around $63,260 a year. Onetonline.org projected that there would be an 14% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.

TSTC offers Mechatronics Technology at the Harlingen campus, where students can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree or a Basic Electromechanical Automation (PLC) occupational skills achievement award.

Registration for TSTC’s spring semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

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