(ABILENE, Texas) – During a pandemic, the workforce still needs training.

Texas State Technical College workforce trainer Terry Steelman has not seen a decline in requests for training over the past few months. Some area companies have been able to use federal funds to provide employee training through TSTC, he said.

“A lot of the essential businesses have needed some training. We are teaching the companies the current industry standards,” Steelman said. “Businesses have received funding and contacted us for the training.”

Steelman and other workforce trainers help clients with specialized programs using the latest technology and production systems available. Training focuses on improving employee skills, knowledge and abilities, he said.

An Abilene plastics company that supplies containers for the food industry, which has been deemed an essential business in Texas, has taken advantage of federal funds and TSTC’s workforce training program.

“This company makes containers for salads and other food items for local restaurants. This has been a big area because these containers are easily replaceable,” Steelman said. “The restaurant/hospitality industry is transitioning to this type of service since COVID-19. They want to make sure everything is safe.”

TSTC has provided other training opportunities for companies in West Texas, including Buzzi Unicem in Nolan County. Steelman said the concrete company is looking to develop an apprenticeship program at its Maryneal plant.

The college will help provide industry-standard training for employees. One of the benefits is that employees will learn the skills by doing the skills, Steelman said.

Another area Steelman said TSTC is helping businesses is a fast-track program. He said wind energy companies want to hire employees quickly, and TSTC provides an eight-week program to help fill the workforce.

“Employees will be able to walk away with a certificate and get to work. That will give the employee a jump-start if they want to come back to earn a degree,” Steelman said. “A lot of companies cannot wait 18 months to hire someone. They need people now.”

The fast-track program allows a student to earn certification as an electrical technician in eight to 10 weeks. Steelman said that certification may lead to a higher salary.

For more on TSTC’s Workforce Training, visit https://www.tstc.edu/workforce/training.


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