TSTC students stand against a wall with welding projects in front of them.

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Over the course of three days, six students in the Welding Technology program at Texas State Technical College’s Fort Bend County campus participated in the recent SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference in Houston.

For them, it was a learning experience and a great time to show off their skills.

“Other than the little mishaps we had — it happens in every competition — I had a blast,” said Cole Grahmann, who is attending TSTC for his Basic Welding – Multiple Processes and Welding Advanced Pipe Specialization certificates of completion.

Those “mishaps” included a change from individual competitions, which was what they all thought they would be doing, to a team competition.

“There were definitely a lot of hoops we had to jump through in order to compete,” said Travis Hurt, who is working on his dual certification in Structural Welding and Welding Technology – Welding Processes, as well as his associate degree. “It was up in the air until the last minute if we were even going. We had been practicing individual welding, but when we got there we were told we were actually on teams. So we had to come back here to get material for it the night before the competition.”

For the team competition, they ended up being split into two teams of three. Their goal was to successfully build a rocket stove in around an hour and a half. Every 30 minutes they switched roles, meaning each team member had to do a little bit of everything.

“Our time in class really helped us prepare for the competition,” said Alex Schmidt, who is pursuing an associate degree. “The competition was every welder in every position, which we had practice doing from our classes.”

Despite all the setbacks, each member felt that they ended up growing and learning from the experience.

“Time management was a big thing we learned,” Schmidt said. “Just because you have a month of prep time doesn’t mean you will be coming out ahead.”

All of the students are excited to keep learning more as they continue their education. Most of them found a love of welding through high school and chose TSTC to work toward their career.

“I just like how there are many different procedures and things you can do with welding,” said Diego Perez, who is working toward his associate degree. “I like how you can see yourself get better.”

TSTC offers Welding Technology at all 10 of its campuses. The program is one of nine at TSTC that have money-back guarantees. For more information, visit https://www.tstc.edu/admissions/tuition/.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization focused on employability, leadership and technical skills that help college students pursue successful careers and be part of a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA has more than 100 categories in which students can compete, from 3D Visualization and Animation to Welding Sculpture. For more information, go to skillsusa.org.

For more information regarding TSTC, go to tstc.edu.

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