TSTC empowers students toward industry readiness

By Amanda Sotelo, TSTC Staff

Students networked and worked together to complete activities during Thursday’s Texas State Technical College Empowerment Conference hosted at the TSTC Cultural Arts Center.

For six years, TSTC’s Empowerment Conference has focused on an array of subjects, from cultural diversity and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to job readiness, all of which have been focused on TSTC students or open to the community.

“Our job is to empower others by giving them the resources they need,” said Patty Flores, TSTC coordinator of Student Support Services. “And we change gears each year to make sure we reach as many people as possible.”

This year’s Empowerment Conference concentrated on getting nontraditional TSTC students industry-ready and prepared for life after graduation.

Conference sessions, which were led by TSTC faculty and staff, included interview skills activities, resume writing, communication, collaboration, and an insight into how Perkins Grant funds are used to provide resources that help students.

“Here at TSTC, it isn’t just about the technical skills students gain, but also about the soft skills that make them the best candidate for a job,” said Flores. “Our college’s mission is to place more Texans in higher-paying jobs, and conferences like this align with that mission.”

Those who attended the conference ranged from first-semester TSTC students, who wanted to get a head start, to last-semester students, who will begin the job application process in coming months.

One of those students preparing to graduate this spring is Isidro Rosenbaum. The Brownsville native is pursuing an associate degree in Building Construction Technology.

“Beyond high school, I have no formal education, so my time here at TSTC has been a fresh start,” said the 43-year-old. “I took the initiative to attend the conference so that I could learn more about what my next steps are with graduation around the corner.”

He said he learned a lot about how to improve his resume and how to be a better communicator with peers and future employers.

“Today has been an eye-opener that has given me a boost in confidence,” he said. “It has reassured me that I am moving in the right direction. Every session has been a great inspiration.”

Others, like Sheila Sosa, are first-semester students who want to learn more about the resources available to them as TSTC students.

“Life happened, and I never came to college — but I’m back and ready to make the most of it,” said the 31-year-old. “The conference has given me a look into what I need to work on and improve on as I continue my education.”

She encourages other students to take advantage of programs like the Empowerment Conference because TSTC has so much to offer, and she feels that it will help her become a better student.

“Students have really engaged with each session and presenter, and to me that is success,” said Flores. “I hope they take everything they have learned to help them find success and land that high-paying job that will kick-start their careers.”

For more information on the services offered by TSTC Student Support Services, visithttps://tstc.edu/student_life/counseling.