Sonia Flores, Ray Longoria

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Student Recruitment department recently held its first in-person Counselor Update after holding them virtually for two years due to the pandemic.

Counselors from area secondary schools had the opportunity to visit with TSTC instructors and administrators, as well as TSTC industry partners who talked about their workforce needs.

Attendees included representatives from IDEA Public Schools and the Region One Education Service Center, and school districts in Brownsville, Donna, Harlingen, La Joya, Mercedes, Mission, Monte Alto, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo, Port Isabel, Progreso, Raymondville, Roma, Rio Hondo and San Benito.

The event began with an opening welcome and message by Cledia Hernandez, TSTC’s associate vice chancellor for External Relations and Workforce Development, about the importance of the Counselor Update.

“Our goal is to ensure that students who enroll in TSTC are hirable and trained with the skills that are needed to be hired for that job,” she said.

Janet Alfaro, coordinator of Student Recruitment for TSTC’s Harlingen campus, introduced the team of student recruiters and explained their purpose.

“The Office of Student Recruitment is available to offer presentations at college fairs, application drives and financial aid nights,” she said.

Rebeca Villanueva-Hernandez, TSTC’s enrollment executive in Harlingen, said TSTC’s Enrollment Center offers a computer lab and a professional staff who are trained in registration and records, student accounts and financial aid.

“Part of TSTC’s commitment is to provide Texas-sized care to support student success,” she said. “Our one-stop Enrollment Center is designed to maximize service to students. It makes it easier for them to get assistance with registration, financial aid and academic advisement in one central location.”

Belinda Munoz, a TSTC Career Services coordinator, said her department assists students with professional skills to get hired for a job.

Career Services provides a commitment through resources such as resume writing, interviewing, a job search, professionalism, and TSTC’s exclusive job board, hireTSTC,” she said. “Our focus is to connect our students to employers so they can earn a great-paying job.”

Myra De Leon, TSTC’s executive director of Workforce Training and Continuing Education, said her department offers a range of programs and services.

“Our program offerings include a customized training course, workshops, seminars and clinics,” she said. “There is training for industrial startup or expansion programs. We also train for new careers and provide skills updates, professional development, personal improvement and recreation.”

Belinda Palomino, TSTC’s Advocacy and Resource Center coordinator, said there are many resources that her department provides.

“These resources we offer, such as basic needs, child care, food insecurity, transportation, and books and tools, provide great support to the students during their college years,” she said.

Attendees participated in a program fair where they met several of TSTC’s program instructors and observed recruitment presentations.

Sonia Flores, GEAR UP facilitator at San Benito High School, said what appealed to her are the services that TSTC provides.

“The fact that the Advocacy and Resource Center offers students assistance with gas, food and other components is great,” she said. “Also, the housing options that are available through TSTC’s student housing are ideal.”

At the event’s conclusion, attendees were invited to participate in a panel discussion that included TSTC industry partners and TSTC instructors from the Biomedical Equipment Technology, Building Construction Technology, Precision Machining Technology and Vocational Nursing programs.

The panel shared information about industry demand for TSTC graduates and what prospective students can expect to learn at TSTC.

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