(SWEETWATER, Texas) – In need of a career change, Israel Garcia thought that working on wind turbines would be his best option.
Hearing about Texas State Technical College’s Wind Energy Technology program from graduates, he decided it would be the perfect fit for him. After a career in the oil field, Garcia, of Abilene, will complete his Associate of Applied Science degree this semester.
“I was in the oil field for seven years and decided I wanted more job stability,” he said. “The wind energy field is growing and will always be around.”
The job outlook for the wind energy industry is bright. According to onetonline.org, the need for wind turbine service technicians in Texas will increase 83% through 2028. The average annual salary for a technician in the state is $52,420, according to the website.
Garcia knew he made the right decision with each class he completed.
“The instructors are teaching all of us good work habits and good work ethics,” he said. “Each instructor has their individual strength, and this semester has been one of the best.”
Garcia is in many of Russell Benson’s classes this semester and said the instructor is helping everyone prepare for what awaits them — employment.
“He is teaching us the last few things we need to know to be successful,” he said. “Russell is in the perfect spot because he is so knowledgeable about the wind industry.”
Benson said he approached the students’ final semester with one goal.
“We want to show them they do not know everything and you will always be learning on the job,” he said. “When our students complete interviews, they come back to us with information that we may not have covered. We immediately want to add that information to our program so they are better prepared.”
When Garcia started the program, he knew it would be a complicated curriculum. He made sure to work on each assignment until he knew it was right.
“The more we worked during each semester, the more simplified the work became,” he said. “We were able to work on each aspect, knowing it would have to be correct before moving on.”
During his first semester, Garcia said the first climb to the top of the TSTC wind turbine was nerve-wracking.
“I knew I needed that experience. I am glad that it is part of the first semester of the program,” he said. “Looking at the scenery was one thing I will not forget.”
Garcia said he hopes to find a job in the region and knows there are plenty of opportunities.
“I am preparing to begin the process of applying for a job, and hopefully by the time I graduate I will be working,” he said. “That has been the trend with graduates. They are going to find a job.”
Benson said Garcia will fit into any job he obtains, mainly because of his personality.
“Israel has a wonderful personality. He is a hardworking student who will fit in at any company,” Benson said.
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.