Breckenridge Texan

TSTC Open House highlights programs to high school students

TSTC Open House highlights programs to high school students
March 06
06:57 2018

Students from Breckenridge High School and other high schools in the area got a close up look at many of the programs that are offered at Texas State Technical College during the college’s open house on Friday, March 2.

About 450 students attended the event, according to Debbie Karl, executive director at TSTC in Breckenridge. In addition to students from BHS, she said, they were expecting students from Albany High School, Olney High School, Mineral Wells High School, Boyd High School, and the Vocational Tech Campus at Rochester.

“We are doing this on an annual basis at all 10 TSTC campuses,” Karl said, “The idea is to get students on our campus so they can see our lab rooms, see our equipment and see what it is we have to offer.”

Faculty and staff members from all four of the TSTC West Texas campuses representing a wide-array of programs were on hand to meet with students during the open house. Those campuses include Breckenridge, Brownwood, Abilene and Sweetwater. Some of the programs represented at the open house were Digital Media Design, Database and Web Programming, Business Management Technology, Wind Energy Technology, Culinary Arts, Environmental Technology, Chemical Dependency Counseling, Health Information Technology, Nursing, Diesel Equipment Technology, and Welding Technology.

High School students register at the TSTC Open House held at the Breckenridge campus on Friday, March 2. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Karl said one of the goals from the event is to get some of the high school seniors who attended the event to start classes at TSTC next fall. She said, for example, they had three students who are pretty much committed to coming to TSTC for the welding program after graduation and several students from Vocational Tech Campus at Rochester who are very interested in attending the Environmental Technology program.

There are four programs that are offered at the Breckenridge campus, Vocational Nursing, Welding Technology, Chemical Dependency Counseling and Environmental Technology. Karl said students who attend classes at the Breckenridge campus come from as far away as 60 miles. She said some LVN nursing students come from as far away as Fort Worth, and welding students have come from Vernon and Wichita Falls.

In addition to students from outside the area attending classes at TSTC in Breckenridge, Karl said, students in Breckenridge who are attending a program at another TSTC campus can take some of their classes here via interactive television.

“Instructors may be at another campus, but it’s live so they can ask questions,” Karl said.

She said the campus can also help those students with their admissions and financial aid  and the students can use the school’s Internet service for their class work. If those students also need help with some of their reading, writing, or math work and need a developmental class, the Breckenridge campus has faculty who can help them.

According to Karl, the most popular program at the Breckenridge campus is the LVN program. She said it is a four-semester program that takes a year and three months to complete. The students start in August of one year and graduate in December the following year.

“We do an intake every fall, and we’ll have at least 100 applicants for the 30 spots,” Karl said.  “We are hoping at some point in the future to double the intake.”

At the open house on Friday, the LVN lab was one of the most popular attractions for the high school students. They could be seen checking the pulse on the simulation mannequin, taking cell phone photos of each other wearing the pregnancy simulation vest and talking to nursing faculty and current students in the LVN program.

If a student finishes the LVN program and decides they want to become a registered nurse, Karl said, they can transfer to the RN program at the Sweetwater campus. She said that is the most popular program at TSTC West Texas and has the highest enrollment. She said a student is required to have an LVN license to get into that program.

“You can get an LVN in Breckenridge and then transfer to Sweetwater,” she said. “You don’t have to go to Sweetwater every day for class. They have it arranged where travel is a minimum.”

Another popular program at all the TSTC campuses is Welding Technology. Karl said TSTC is adding welding to the Abilene campus this fall and when that’s done, it will be the only program that is offered at all 10 TSTC campuses around the state.

Wind Energy Technology was another program that attracted a lot of attention from the students on Friday. Karl said the program took off when they first introduced it and they had more than 200 students in Sweetwater in the wind program. She said since then it’s leveled off and they have around 50 to 60 students in the program consistently.

Karl said that is still a very viable program for jobs, especially with companies like Amazon committed to building more wind farms. In October the Amazon Wind Farm Texas was opened in Scurry County. The facility has more than 100 turbines and will add more than 1 million megawatt hours (MWh) of energy to the electrical grid annually. Amazon has 18 operational wind farms and is planning to add 35 additional wind farms globally.

 

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: High school students sample food at the Culinary Arts program booth during the TSTC Breckenridge 2018 Open House on Friday, March 2. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Click here to see more photos from the open house in the Breckenridge Texan’s photo gallery.

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