(HARLINGEN, Texas) – With each graduating class, Texas State Technical College lives up to its nickname: the Get-a-Job College. Now one of its Wind Energy Technology students is on an exciting career pathway that will take her halfway around the world.
Monika Bodner recently accepted a job opportunity with German printing press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer. She is studying for a certificate of completion in Wind Energy Technician at TSTC’s Harlingen campus, and the skills that she is learning will translate well to her work in Germany.
“My instructor (Patrick) Zoerner handed me a flyer about a job opening with the company,” Bodner said. “The vacancy is an electrical engineer. I traveled by airplane to Dallas for an in-person interview, and it turned out great. I will begin job training in Germany for a duration of six months in January. Then I come back to the United States for three months and return to Germany for six more months to finish the training.”
Ericka Luneau, human resources director for Koenig & Bauer, said the company’s technicians and engineers often have to communicate complex technical information to customers with varying levels of technical knowledge.
“Monika demonstrates an ability to calmly and confidently communicate her thoughts and ideas to others in a way that is organized, understandable and meaningful,” Luneau said. “(She) has the desire and enthusiasm to take the base skills she is learning at TSTC and expand upon them in our apprenticeship program and beyond to become a highly skilled electrical technician working on our presses at customer sites across the United States.”
After Bodner’s two-year apprenticeship concludes, she will begin her career in Dallas as a remote electrical engineer technician.
The Harlingen resident said the job will open several future opportunities.
“I am looking forward to witnessing a different culture at 19 years old,” she said. “I will be issued a mentor who will teach me everything, as well as introducing me to the German language.”
Bodner became interested in the Wind Energy Technology program at TSTC through her father.
“I first enrolled in TSTC’s Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics program (now Drafting and Design), but I changed my mind because I didn’t like the idea of being inside an office all day,” she said. “My father was a former statewide division director for TSTC’s Engineering department. He passed away. So I have a nostalgic feeling when I am in this building. One day I noticed the Wind Energy Technology banner, and I decided to give it a chance.”
The wind energy industry is a male-dominated field, but that never deterred Bodner.
“It influenced me to work harder, and now there is a positive result,” she said.
Bodner added that her program experience has been engaging.
“The instructors work around our work schedule or any other factors,” she said. “Their impact is incredible with hands-on training because they provide step-by-step instruction.”
Mario Sanchez, a TSTC Wind Energy Technology instructor, said the apprenticeship with Koenig & Bauer is an excellent opportunity.
“Monika will work for a great company on the cutting edge of the printing industry,” Sanchez said. “(She) will also get to know her family roots while learning the skills needed to thrust her into the forefront of the industry.”
Wind turbine service technicians can make a yearly annual salary of $51,560 in Texas, according to onetonline.org. The number of these jobs is expected to increase 102% by 2030.
TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion at the Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.