Jerroll Hodge, right, lead instructor of Welding Technology at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus, presents $11,000 scholarships to Hector Guzman, second from left, and Zitlaly Rangel, second from right, at Cleveland High School. At left is Cleveland High School welding instructor Jim Baxter.

Both have excelled in statewide welding competitions

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Hector Guzman and Zitlaly Rangel, two recent graduates of Cleveland High School, each received an $11,000 scholarship to attend Texas State Technical College for welding training this fall.

Jerroll Hodge, lead instructor for the Welding Technology program at TSTC’s campus in Fort Bend County, was on hand to present the scholarships to the pair.

“They were chosen from placing well in competition,” Hodge said. “They’re both excellent welders for their age.”

Alongside their welding classmates at Cleveland High School, Guzman and Rangel traveled the state last year competing in Texas High School Welding Series events — several of them hosted at TSTC campuses.

Each competition gave them opportunities to grow their skills and learn from other welding students from across Texas.

Prior to the scholarship presentation, Guzman and Rangel visited TSTC’s campus in Fort Bend County for a tour and to register for enrollment. Hodge, who was practicing his welding skills with another TSTC instructor, welcomed them warmly into the lab.

They returned the favor when he arrived at Cleveland High School to award the scholarships to them.

“They were excited,” Hodge said. “When they saw me, they were hyped up.”

Hodge hopes that both students continue to grow as welders and have the drive to complete Associate of Applied Science degrees in Welding Technology at TSTC — something he recommends to all prospective students because of the opportunities it creates.

He also hopes that more school districts will see the value in offering career and technical education for their students.

“If you decide to study a trade, you’re still going to get that recognition,” Hodge said.

TSTC offers training opportunities in its Welding Technology program at all 10 of its campuses across the state. The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee, in which the college refunds tuition to participating graduates if they are not hired in the field within six months of earning their degrees.

In Texas, welders can earn an average annual salary of $47,820, according to onetonline.org, which forecasts these positions to grow in the state by 13% through 2028.

At 46,580, Texas employs the highest number of welders in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area has the highest employment level of welders out of all other metropolitan areas in the country.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. Learn more at tstc.edu.

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