HARLINGEN – Texas always needs skilled construction workers. And the skills that will make these workers successful are offered in the Building Technology program at Texas State Technical College.
Rick Vargas, TSTC’s chief construction technology instructor on the Harlingen campus, has 13 years of experience with companies such as Green Rubiano & Associates and Peacock General Contractors in Harlingen.
Vargas educates its students through commercial-type construction projects and real-world scenarios during lab classes.
“I create leaders on the ground,” he said. “I have one student who works as a foreman. He or she is responsible for this group. They talk to their team to make sure the workload is done. Also the foreman reports to me on any issues of their team. You have to be a great interlocutor. “
Jaime Salinas, a fourth-semester student, is earning a master’s degree in applied science in building technology. He said the wealth of knowledge he gained in the program was amazing.
“I learned the right procedures that are best suited when handling different projects,” he said. “These examples range from the foundation, to the installation of the roof, the laying of the walls and more. The skills these instructors have brought me up are incredible. ”
Fourth-semester student Alfredo Martinez also earns a master’s degree in applied science in building technology.
He said that each teacher brings different values and methods to the program.
“I try to use their talents and create my own style,” he said. “For one lesson I had to plan an estimate for the house. Those calculations were at the expense of materials and labor. I liked it because it gives you a real-world perspective. ”
Teachers teach important skills – technical, soft and managerial – that shape their students ’prospects.
The technical aspect consists of the use of practical tools used in this field. Mild skills relate to communication, such as crew management.
Communication is widely used in the course management program. Students learn to view contracts, find job opportunities and manage a company. They are also studying the competitive bidding process. Most importantly, they learn how to ensure that security plans work.
In addition, students are taught about inflation and should contact vendors regarding the cost of equipment in the assessment course.
“Several of my students are surprised by the high cost of the equipment,” Vargas said. “I tell them to compare it to the cost of goods in 2019. This is a direct effect of inflation. “
Vargas is still communicating with several former graduates who have succeeded in the construction industry.
“They are all grateful for the foundation we taught them,” he said. “These are industry skills that will help current students gain a successful construction profession.”
According to onetonline.org, construction managers in Texas can earn about $ 86,000 a year. By 2028, the number of such jobs in the state is expected to grow by 17%.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Building Construction Technology and a Certificate of Completion – Master at the Harlingen and Wack campuses.
To learn more about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.