Metallica scholar sees confidence grow while in TSTC lab

Cole Purcell is studying Diesel Equipment Technology at TSTC with a goal of beginning a career in the oil field industry. (Photo Courtesy of TSTC)

SWEETWATER Cole Purcell’s confidence has grown while working on diesel engines in the Texas State Technical College lab.

The Wink native is studying for a certificate of completion in Diesel Equipment Technology with the goal of working in the West Texas oil fields.

“I was raised around the oil fields, and I knew it would be the industry for me,” he said in a news release. “I want to be able to work on the big compressor. If a big truck drives by and has trouble, I will be able to help. That is a good thing to be able to know how to do.”

Purcell was in the first class of TSTC’s Metallica scholars at the Sweetwater campus. He said receiving the scholarship from the Metallica Scholars Initiative (MSI) helped ease some of his financial worries.

“The scholarship allowed me to get the things I needed to be successful in school,” said Purcell, who is a fan of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band for which the scholarship is named. “My parents were excited for me as well because I was part of the first class of scholarship recipients.”

MSI was launched in 2019 by All Within My Hands in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges. MSI supports 42 community colleges across 33 states. By the end of this year, the foundation expects to have helped more than 6,000 students pursue careers in the trades, the release said.

Now that Purcell has the financial support courtesy of a legendary band, he wants to work on making sure that he knows what to do when his career begins.

“I have been working on my confidence in each project we do,” he said. “Having instructors being able to show you different ways of doing tasks correctly is a great way to learn. Not everything has to come straight from the book. The experience of the instructors shows in each lesson.”

Chris Pittman, a Diesel Equipment Technology instructor, has seen Purcell’s improvement since he started the program in August.

“Cole is becoming more familiar with the tools we have to use in the field,” Pittman said in the release. “He has become less of an observer and more of a doer in the shop.”

Purcell knew he would get a quality hands-on education from TSTC because his father graduated from the college’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program.

“My dad told me that I would like TSTC because of the hands-on approach of the programs,” he said. “He was right about how well you can learn at TSTC.”

According to, jobs for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists were expected to increase 19% in Texas from 2020 to 2030. Such technicians employed in the state earn an annual average salary of $50,970, the website stated.

Diesel Equipment Technology is available at TSTC’s Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. Depending on campus location, the program offers Associate of Applied Science degrees with different specializations. Several certificates of completion also are offered.

The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee program. If a participating graduate does not find a job in their field within six months after graduating, TSTC will refund their tuition in full.

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