Conversations regarding the state of modern manufacturing are often punctuated by topics including the widening skills gap, factories of the future, and the Internet of Things (IoT), not to mention robotics, automation, and cybersecurity.
Without a doubt, changing times, evolving technologies, and a shift in how business gets done are continuing to shape this industry that is so deeply rooted in the heart of the American economy.
By all accounts, one of the most critical missions in today’s manufacturing industry involves addressing the talent crisis with strategic solutions.
If one thing is certain, it’s that technically-skilled employees are key to the long-term health of this important industry.
Cue the educational institutions — particularly technical colleges.
Thankfully, technical colleges — such as Texas State Technical College in North Texas — are well-poised to handle the training challenges that face manufacturing companies.
Serving residents and businesses on myriad levels, Texas State Technical College (TSTC) is the only state-supported multiple-campus technical college in Texas. Through 10 campuses across the state, TSTC not only offers students exceptional technical education, but also provides customized workforce training to Lone Star companies.
In partnership with business and industry, government agencies and other educational institutions, TSTC Workforce Training & Continuing Education is making a tangible difference in the workplace through specialized training programs designed to update and improve employees' current skills as well as prepare new employees for workforce demands.
Steel producer Gerdau, located in Midlothian just south of Dallas-Fort Worth, has firsthand experience with TSTC’s comprehensive training solutions. The company has been partnering with TSTC’s North Texas campus in Red Oak through an apprenticeship program implemented nearly two years ago. Additionally, Gerdau was awarded a Skills Development Fund (SDF) grant from the Texas Workforce Commission in July 2016.
Gerdau is now using the $431,012 SDF grant to collaborate with TSTC to provide customized job training for 189 new and incumbent workers in the areas of hydraulics, lubrication principles, electrical troubleshooting and motor controls, mechanical crane inspections, and bearings.
“This training grant is critical because it gives us the resources we need to execute high-level maintenance,” said Ken Schappert, people manager for Gerdau. “This allows us to remain cost-competitive in a very difficult commodities-based market, and that is critical to us supporting the community and remaining viable.”
A Workforce Resource
Opened in 2014, the TSTC North Texas campus in Red Oak features an Industrial Technology Center which houses many of the college’s high-tech, advanced workforce programs including:
- Electrical & Power Controls
- Logistics Technology
- Diesel Equipment Technology
- Computer-Aided Manufacturing and Basic Machining
- Computer-Aided Drafting & Design
- Computer Networking
- Cyber Security
- Combination Welding
- Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration
- Industrial Maintenance
Area companies can tap into these programs to secure tailored class instruction which can take place at a variety of locations including the TSTC campus, the client’s location, a partner campus, a commercial location — such as a conference center, or even “virtually” as distance education.
Flexible scheduling and a mix of instructional forms and formats ensure that training programs effectively address a company’s specific industry needs.
Convenient proximity to and strategic relationships with nearby TSTC are just a couple of the many reasons why Midlothian is ideal for expanding businesses.
Show Your Support of Texas Technical Education
Midlothian understands the value of technical education. The city’s connection with the manufacturing industry was an important catalyst behind the creation of the Midlothian Workforce/Careers Scholarship Fund.
In partnership with local industry, Midlothian Economic Development provides funds to The TSTC Foundation’s Texan Success Scholarship. Graduates of MISD and residents of Midlothian are eligible for these $1,000 scholarships.