(ABILENE, Texas) – Colten Butts wanted to pursue an electrical career.
When he learned about the Industrial Systems program at Texas State Technical College, he knew that would be his best route to begin his career.
“This program will give me so many different opportunities,” he said. “I was amazed when I walked into the lab and saw the equipment. It really is the jack-of-all-trades program.”
Butts, of Jal, New Mexico, said a friend referred him to TSTC, and he has not been disappointed.
“My buddy is taking Electrical Systems, and he told me to check (Industrial Systems) out,” he said. “I want to work in the electrical field, but this will teach me so much more.”
Teaching students more than the electrical aspect is the goal for instructor Daniel Diaz.
“We teach our students what they need to do to be successful in industrial maintenance,” Diaz said, adding that students learn skills needed to repair and maintain hydraulic systems, pneumatic equipment, conveyor systems and mechanical controls, as well as learning welding.
Butts, who is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree, said having the hands-on lab sessions is what makes the difference in learning.
“I am more of a hands-on learner, and having this equipment will only make it better for me,” he said.
Butts said having Diaz and Terry Steelman as instructors helps him learn at a higher level.
“There is so much knowledge they dump on, and it comes so fast,” he said. “I know I can handle the fast pace, but having their knowledge and skill is the best part of the program. They know what they are teaching.”
While Butts may focus on the electrical side as a career, he knows his options will be open.
“I know TSTC graduates get jobs. We were told that on day one,” he said. “I want to be part of that as well. Going to school here guarantees we are going to be working. I plan on staying in Texas to work.”
Steelman said Butts’s work ethic makes him a good technician after he graduates.
“The program will help him hone his skills and teach him industry standards so he can become a great technician,” he said.
The need for industrial machinery mechanics will increase over the next few years. According to onetonline.org, such positions are expected to grow by 13% in Texas by 2028. The average salary for an industrial machinery mechanic in Texas is $54,980, according to the website.
Butts also likes other opportunities that TSTC provides, including job fairs and resume-writing sessions.
“A lot of schools do not offer the opportunities TSTC does, and that is great for someone looking to get their name out there,” he said. “I cannot wait to attend the virtual job fair in October. It will give me some valuable experience talking to employers and prepare me for interviews.”
At its Abilene campus, TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems – Mechanical Specialization and a certificate of completion in Industrial Systems Mechanic.
Industrial Systems is one of nine programs at TSTC that have money-back guarantees. The college’s commitment to 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.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.