Technical Education in Fort Bend continues to grow with TSTC Expansion

By Michael Sudhalter
msudhalter@fortbendstar.com

Texas State Technical College Expansion. (Submitted Artist Rendering)

Texas State Technical College Expansion. (Submitted Artist Rendering)

The conversation about the importance of Technical Education is shifting from words to action.

Fort Bend ISD just announced plans to build a $59 million Career & Technical Education (CTE) Center as part of the 2014 Bond that voters approved.

Students in the northern part of the County can take Career/Technical Classes at Houston Community College (HCC) campuses throughout the metropolitan area with in-district tuition.

Career/Technical Education is getting a major boost in the southern part of the County from the rapid expansion of the Texas State Technical College (TSTC) Richmond campus.

Richmond is one of the smallest campuses among the 10 TSTC campuses across the state.

TSTC considered leaving Fort Bend County, but the Richmond community rallied around the campus, and now, it’s expected to be among the largest TSTC campuses in the state.

Only two TSTC campuses – Harlingen and Waco – currently have more than 5,000 students, but Richmond is expected to eventually eclipse that mark by the time construction. The campus will have 100,000 square feet of classrooms and instructional space.

The new campus will also bring 60 new jobs to the area.

TSTC-Richmond currently offers programs in HVAC Technology, Diesel Equipment Technology and Precision Machining Technology.

But this summer, they’ll be adding a new standalone building on Aug. 1 – the first of eight.

A groundbreaking will be held for the construction on a second building in June.

At this time, TSTC only has funding approved for the first three buildings.

“There was a need to expand the programs offered. Now that we’re in the process, we need to hit the ground running,” said Mary Castañon, TSTC’s Director of Instructional Administration. “There are going to be a lot of job opportunities for those who want to work for TSTC. It’s a great place to work and is located in one of the largest-growing counties in Texas.”

There will be new courses of study in Industrial Maintenance Technology, Cyber Security, Telecommunications Convergence Technology and Welding Technology in the near future.

TSTC researched the employment needs in Fort Bend County and realized that 1,349 workers with engineering-related skills will be needed each year through 2020. There will also be a need for 5,920 mechanics and technicians trained in repair technologies through 2020.

TSTC recently hired three new recruiters to work with high school students who are interested in technical careers.

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