TSTC Wind Energy Technology students go from classroom to careers

Casey Allen, a candidate for graduation in TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program, signed the turbine blade at the Sweetwater location, a tradition for graduating students when they complete their final tests. (Photo Courtesy of TSTC)

SWEETWATER Four candidates for graduation in Texas State Technical College’s Wind Energy Technology program this semester have signed with companies either to begin or continue their careers in the wind energy industry.

Sterling Hernandez will begin work at Oncor, while Joeangel Reyna will continue to work at RWE following his internship there. Casey Allen and Ezekiel Loe will start work at NextEra Energy Resources soon after the April 26 commencement ceremony.

“This is why we do what we do at TSTC. This is the ultimate culmination of the students’ hard work,” Russell Benson, a Wind Energy Technology instructor, said in a news release. “I am swelled with pride knowing these students have a career ready for them.”

Billie Jones, also a Wind Energy Technology instructor, said the four students are part of a long list of TSTC success stories.

“We want to provide our students with the skills they need to have a rewarding career,” she said in the release. “Like those before them, this graduating class will show why TSTC is the best place to get an education and begin the climb to a promising future.”

Allen, of Fort Worth, said TSTC did something for her that other schools might not have.

“They brought the employers to me through employer spotlights and job fairs,” she said. “TSTC provided me with the knowledge to be able to impress employers.”

Allen said she will carry another experience with her after she graduates.

“The instructors not only provided advice on the technical things, but what to expect in life,” she said. “They were like five extra parents to me. I am happy to be setting out on my own and to make them proud.”

Sterling Hernandez, a candidate for graduation in TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program, will begin his career with Oncor after he receives his Associate of Applied Science degree. (Photo Courtesy of TSTC)

Hernandez, of Breckenridge, said TSTC prepared him well for his venture into the workforce.

“There are so many resources available, from the instructors to people in Career Services,” he said. “I was nervous prior to my interview (with Oncor). But after talking to the teachers, they calmed me down. I took their advice and was excited to get the call about the job.”

Loe, of Austin, said TSTC lived up to its commitment to placing Texans in great-paying jobs.

“TSTC preaches that they will prepare you for a job, and everyone did just that for me,” he said. “With all of the hands-on experience, I have what I need to get started in a career.”

Reyna, of Sweetwater, said the daily training in the college’s lab prepared him for working with RWE.

“With the hand-on experience, I was able to get familiar with the components and with how electricity works,” he said. “It feels good knowing I am more secure with a future career.”

According to onetonline.org, the need for wind turbine service technicians in Texas was forecast to increase 102% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary for a technician in Texas is $56,640, according to the website.

TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion at the Harlingen and Sweetwater locations.

Registration for TSTC’s summer and fall semesters is underway. Learn more at tstc.edu.