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TSTC Auto Collision and Management Technology program selected for national apprenticeship program

January 18, 2021 by Daniel Perry

(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College has been selected as one of four colleges nationally to take part in a program aimed at producing more workers for the automotive collision repair industry.

Enterprise Holdings, with funding from its philanthropic arm the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation, and Missouri-based Ranken Technical College have launched the Automotive Collision Engineering Pilot Program. The program includes that college, TSTC, and institutions in California and Illinois.

The pilot program’s purpose is to have students get real-world experience as they learn in classes to go into the collision repair industry. Jobs for auto body and glass repairers is projected to be at 184,000 by 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Texas, workers are reported to make an annual mean wage of $36,960.

“We’re proud to be spearheading the Automotive Collision Engineering Pilot Program through this innovative pilot,” said Mary Mahoney, vice president of Enterprise Holdings’ Insurance Replacement Division. “As the world’s largest car rental provider and an industry leader in mobility and technology, we have a huge stake in the health of the automotive repair industry and are committed to doing our part to invest in its success.”

The pilot program is using a model that Ranken Technical College has developed to provide apprenticeships to collision repair students. TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program will follow this format.

Students starting this fall in TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program are eligible to join the apprenticeship program. Students that meet program requirements throughout their time at TSTC will earn the Associate of Applied Science degree in Auto Collision and Management Technology – Repair Specialization Co-op. Some of the topics that students will learn include automotive plastic and sheet molded compound repair, collision repair welding, estimating, structural analysis and vehicle hardware.

“This program is for someone who really wants to do this,” said Jannifer Stimmel, an instructor in TSTC’s Auto Collision and Management Technology program. “We are aiming for a very special kind of student. We want someone who is motivated and driven.”

Students accepted into the program will take seven weeks of classes and work at approved repair shops for seven weeks each semester. Stimmel and the students will select the best place to work, but she will visit to make sure the repair shop has the right equipment and a technician who can mentor. 

She said it will help if shops are part of the Ford Certified Collision Network. Shop staff need to keep journals each week for Stimmel to review students’ progress. A portion of each student’s pay is subsidized by the pilot program.

“The goal is to have them work wherever they are planning on living when they graduate,” Stimmel said. “The ultimate goal is for them to be in a certified shop that can offer them an opportunity.”

The collision repair field is evolving for technicians who are becoming collision engineers.

“We are handed the instructions when a vehicle has been wrecked, and it is our job to put it back the way the manufacturer had it,” Stimmel said. “We are using procedures to re-engineer the vehicle and building it just like the factory does.”

Potential students interested in the pilot program can go to https://www.beacollisionengineer.com.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu. 

TSTC welcomes back students for spring semester

January 15, 2021 by Naissa Lopez

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – On January 11, Texas State Technical College welcomed back students to its Fort Bend County campus for the spring 2021 semester.

Some students, staff and faculty returned to campus on a limited basis, following TSTC’s coronavirus safety guidelines. While some courses are being taught online only, others are a combination of online classes and in-person labs.

TSTC Associate Provost Bryan Bowling was eager to welcome students to TSTC and said that a new semester is the steppingstone to a gratifying career.

“This will be the year you recall as a new beginning,” he said. “A student’s decision to enroll at TSTC represents a critical point of origin on a life-altering journey that can lead to a lucrative career.”

Environmental Technology instructor Maria Vaughan added that she knows this year will be a positive one.

“As we start the year, students should be curious about their purpose,” she said. “It is going to be a great semester.”

TSTC is dedicated to helping enhance the Texas workforce by equipping students with the skills needed to succeed in the most in-demand careers.

Established in 2016, the Fort Bend County campus offers more than 10 technical programs that can give students the training needed for a successful career.

TSTC’s coronavirus safety protocols include wearing face masks while on campus, social distancing, and designated entrance and exit doors.

To learn more, go to tstc.edu.

TSTC implements new tool to make sure that students graduate

January 15, 2021 by Naissa Lopez

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recently added an additional resource to ensure that students succeed during their time in college.

Progress Pathway, formerly known as Early Alert, is a feature that allows students, faculty and staff to submit a referral about a student who they feel may be falling behind in the curriculum. The referral will then lead to assisting that student to help them make it past the bump on their educational journey.

Christina Vargas, assistant director of enrollment management at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus, said that the system was created to help students get back on track when they may be struggling.

“If there is concern that a student is having problems with not only their courses, but maybe another issue, we can submit a referral that goes directly to the student’s enrollment coach,” she said. “Once the referral is submitted, the coach will reach out to the student. We have resources at TSTC to address many of the types of barriers that impede student success.”

“The objective of Progress Pathway is student success,” added TSTC enrollment analyst Robert Foshie. “We want to ensure students, staff and faculty have a way to express concern that may negatively impact a student’s ability to persist through their degree.”

He said that the tool will allow appropriate parties to offer assistance when a student needs it.

“Progress Pathway allows Enrollment Management to intervene and provide resources or additional funding as needed to ensure students stay on course to graduate.”

Issues that students may face go beyond the classroom. Access to technology, funding for supplies, or personal dilemmas are all factored into the solutions that Progress Pathway can make happen for students.

“We know there are a number of issues that could be causing a student to fall behind,” Vargas said. “The issues that can be reported on Progress Pathway reach beyond academics. Whether it be financial struggles or a lack of child care that an instructor suspects is causing the student to struggle, a referral will work in the same way.”

Foshie said that the new feature helps continue to enable TSTC’s mission of building the Texas workforce.

“Being able to assist a student with their needs is often the determining factor for whether or not a student can persist to graduation,” he said. “Our mission is to place more Texans in great-paying jobs, and our team strives to make what is impossible for some a success in their journey.”

To learn more about TSTC, go to tstc.edu.

Instructor’s passion for cars guided him to TSTC

January 15, 2021 by Naissa Lopez

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – A curiosity for engines and transmissions is what drove Diego Trevino to a career at Texas State Technical College three years ago. He is currently an instructor in the Automotive Technology program and brings to the classroom not only his love for all things automotive, but also his firsthand experience.

What was your career before your time with TSTC?

Before I became an instructor, I was an automotive technician for Gillman Chevrolet Buick GMC in San Benito for several years.

Why did you decide on a career in automotive technology?

The main reason I decided on my career in the automotive industry is my love for cars. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been working on cars. On my time off, I still make time to build engines and restore classic cars.

What do you think makes the automotive program at TSTC different from other colleges?

What I think sets the TSTC Automotive Technology program apart from other auto programs is the experience of the instructors; we are all masters in the field and accredited as such. TSTC only hires the best and most capable to pass along decades of experience and skills.

Additionally, job placement is a big help for students when they graduate. Not many other colleges set up interviews or help create paid internships for students while they are enrolled in classes with some of the biggest automotive shops in the region.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

What I enjoy the most about my job is passing on my years of experience to a new generation of technicians to continue this craft.

To learn more about TSTC, go to tstc.edu.

Automotive Technology at TSTC drives students toward thriving career

January 15, 2021 by Naissa Lopez

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The revving of engines is music to the ears of students and  instructors alike in Texas State Technical College’s Automotive Technology program.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers for automotive service technicians are expected to continue to rise through 2026. TSTC’s Automotive Technology program utilizes a hands-on method of learning that gives students the necessary training needed to excel in the field.

The college offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology, as well as several options for certificates of completion.

Instructor Diego Trevino said that TSTC students in the program are given the opportunity to study with working vehicles, as well as learn from instructors who have had firsthand industry experience.

“We get to teach from actual running vehicles rather than trainers on a stand,” he said. “All the instructors at TSTC are required to be Master Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified and also have an associate degree in the automotive field before they can step into a classroom.”

Bruce Schmitt, also an instructor, added that TSTC’s mission to work closely with students is what sets this program apart.

“We invest in students over a long period of time,” he said. “TSTC is a well-established college throughout the state of Texas.”

He added that the focus on students does not stop once the class ends. Job placement is also a vital component of the program.

“All automotive students are assisted with job placement through our partnerships with local industry partners, both dealership and independent,” he said.

Trevino said that Automotive Technology instructors also do their due diligence to ensure that students are given good opportunities.

“As instructors, we all take time out of our day to visit dealerships and shops across the Rio Grande Valley to create a relationship with them to help our students get their foot in the door,” he said. “We take advantage of the interview practices offered throughout the year to help our students prepare for the interviews with industry partners that we have set up for them by the time they graduate.”

Instructor Miguel Zoleta said that the automotive industry is not slowing down, as far as jobs are concerned.

“I see a rapid rise in demand for the automotive industry, especially in the electrical automotive industry, because many automotive companies are introducing electric lines of vehicles,” he said.

While current safety precautions have impacted the one-on-one time that instructors have with students, Trevino said that this has not deterred the department from finding other ways to guarantee communication, such as distancing with minimal time in the lab, virtual appointments, and even phone calls.

“We are always available by appointment,” he said. “In order for students to really master the automotive craft, whether it is practicing a skill like tire balancing or getting the finer points of engine rebuilding, we try our best to make ourselves available to students however we can.”

To learn more about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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