BY Amanda Sotelo
United Launch Alliance recently donated $500 to Texas State Technical College’s SkillsUSA Precision Manufacturing 2017-18 competition team.
The donation comes as the latest installment of $168,600 that ULA has already given to the college for student scholarships and equipment.
Ralph Luaces, site lead at ULA Harlingen, said they are ecstatic about being able to help a program that has proven to be effective.
“ULA is happy to support the SkillsUSA program at TSTC,” said Luaces. “The students’ recent success in competition has shown that the program is very effective in developing and preparing students to enter the workforce.”
One of ULA’s largest donations came in 2015, when the company gave TSTC $40,000 for the college’s Challenger Learning Center Planetarium.
TSTC Senior Development Officer Amy Lynch said ULA is one of TSTC’s largest partners and supporters.
“ULA supports our college and its students not only with monetary contributions for scholarships but also with tool and equipment donations and by hiring our students,” said Lynch. “They’re a great asset to our college and our community.”
The recent contribution made to TSTC’s SkillsUSA Precision Manufacturing team will be used to fund equipment upgrades for the team’s Urban Search and Rescue robot, SkillsUSA uniforms and blazers, and personal protection equipment.
Just last year, ULA gave $1,000 for the purchase of a new robot kit and additional upgrades that put the robot at a more competitive level, and this year’s donation will help do the same.
The robot had previously been used and upgraded for the 2016 and 2017 SkillsUSA national competitions, respectively.
TSTC Mechatronics Technology student Michael Arreola and recent Mechatronics and Precision Manufacturing Technology graduate Rick Santos were the 2017 Urban Search and Rescue team that used the robot and earned gold medals at the national competition.
TSTC Precision Manufacturing Technology Instructor Rick Limas said it is donations like this one that help TSTC’s SkillsUSA students get to the national level and remain competitive among their peers.
“Industry support is imperative to our younger generation of craftsmen and craftswomen,” said Limas. “It helps our students cross barriers and jump hurdles and gives us insight and knowledge on what employers are looking for so we can get our students hired.”
Limas hopes this longtime partnership with ULA continues to remain strong and steadfast for the benefit of future TSTC students.
“We thank ULA and all of our industry leaders for their monetary, material and training support they provide to our students,” added Limas. “And we hope to continue working with everyone so that we can continue to provide our students with cutting-edge technology that will prepare them to be successful in industry.”
To donate to SkillsUSA and help TSTC students get to the 2018 SkillsUSA national competition, call The TSTC Foundation at 956-364-4500.
For more information on Precision Manufacturing Technology, visit tstc.edu.