(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Texas State Technical College Welding Technology instructor Daniel Aguirre has seen his students make remarkable strides over the past 10 months.
With six students preparing to graduate later this summer, Aguirre said he hopes the next cohort will find similar success.
“I have seen a lot of improvement from all of the students since we began back in August,” he said. “Some of them came in here with experience, and some with none. They have all progressed beautifully in the program. They are not the same students who were here on day one.”
In addition to learning different skills, Aguirre said he wants them to learn what it is like to be a welder in the actual workforce.
“I want them to know what to expect when they are working in the field,” he said. “Some of them are ready right now to hit the road to a successful career.”
Student Bobby Suniga had a goal when he started the program and has been able to accomplish it over the past few months.
“I want to be a more consistent welder. I want to have a nice, clean bead on my work,” he said. “When I was younger, my welds looked like an old dirt dauber laid a nest.”
Aguirre knows the skill level is different in each student, no matter their age. Student Rodger Ruiz has proved that age does not matter and told some visiting high school students so during a recent tour of the TSTC welding lab.
“I wanted to let those students know that it is never too late to do something new,” he said. “I said, ‘Look at me — I am 50. You can learn new tricks, no matter your age.’”
Aguirre said he is excited to welcome new students to the program in the fall and plans to continue TSTC’s tradition of placing students in well-paying jobs.
“If the new students come in with the same excitement, we are going to have quality welders entering the field,” he said.
Prior welding experience can be anywhere from none to having worked on construction sites, according to Aguirre. He said his goal is to teach students quality skills while showcasing their talents.
Suniga said incoming students will learn more with Aguirre’s leadership.
“His experience and his willingness to help correct us is great,” he said. “He is always there to help all of us become better welders.”
Aguirre has spent the past few weeks working with TSTC recruiters to encourage enrollment.
“We have talked to students in Comanche and Bangs, as well as the local GED program in Brownwood,” he said.
Aguirre also is reaching out to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system.
“We have talked to our local prison unit about the program,” he said. “For the guys getting out of prison, there is no better way for me to help them find a new direction in life.”
According to onetonline.org, welders can earn a yearly median salary of more than $47,000 in Texas. These jobs are expected to increase 13% by 2028 in the state, according to the website.
TSTC offers Welding Technology at each of its 10 campuses located throughout Texas.
Welding Technology is one of nine programs at TSTC that have money-back guarantees. The college’s commitment to welding students is simple: If they do not have a job in their field within six months of graduation, they will receive a full refund of their tuition. For more information on the Money-Back Guarantee program, visit https://www.tstc.edu/admissions/tuition/.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.