(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Having earned his Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology and a certificate in Structural and Pipe Welding from Texas State Technical College in 2018, Juan Avila is now back at his alma mater, imparting his wisdom and expertise to the current cohort of welding students as a lab assistant.
“When I was younger, I didn’t know much about welding at all,” the San Benito native said. “As I got older, I knew that I wanted to learn a trade that will always be in high demand.”
It only took one visit to campus to convince Avila that TSTC was where he belonged.
“I decided to take a tour of the welding facility at TSTC and was immediately hooked,” he said. “As soon as the tour was over, I registered for classes.”
Earlier this month, a small number of students were able to return to TSTC, in accordance with Gov. Abbott’s executive order and authorization from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, to finish lab hours required prior to graduation, something that Avila said students welcomed.
“Our students were so excited when they were contacted about their return to campus,” Avila said. “Being able to get them back in the (welding) booths and back to work is essential for their educational training.”
Aside from the hands-on learning environment, one of Avila’s favorite things about working as a lab assistant is seeing the progression in knowledge that welding students learn from beginning to end.
“Being able to see the progress that they make throughout their time in the program is something I really enjoy,” he said. “Comparing how they first start off, to them being well-rounded welders as they get further into the program, is great.”
Avila stressed that TSTC’s goal is to prepare students for rewarding careers.
“We guide our students to become well-rounded in their craft,” he said. “Welding is a great career and will continue to be in high demand. I believe this trade is going to be around for a very long while. We’re building America one weld at a time.”
To learn more about TSTC’s Welding Technology program, visit tstc.edu/programs/WeldingTechnology.