Industry asks, TSC delivers new Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance program

TSC will launch an Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance program beginning in Fall 2020.

“The new program was designed in response to the needs of our community,” said Dr. Murad Abusalim, dean of the Division of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. “TSC’s advisory committee and TSC’s leadership met with local industry partners from different sectors to discuss workforce needs and solutions. We identified a shortage of skilled industrial maintenance technicians and industrial mechanics in the area.”

The TSC advisory committee is composed of representatives from industrial companies in the area such as CK Technologies, RICH Products, Saint Gobain, and the South Texas Manufacturing Association (STMA). The group is instrumental in helping TSC understand their specific needs regarding job demand and skills required for these technicians.

Mike Willis, chair of the Education and Workforce Committee and treasurer of the STMA, is a member of TSC’s advisory committee. He brings years of experience and expertise in the manufacturing and training sector.

Formerly the director of the McAllen-based STMA, Willis developed the organization’s presence in Cameron County, which currently has 26 members in Brownsville. It is from this effort that communication began with TSC’s leadership regarding the creation of programs.

“I’d like to compliment the new TSC leadership,” said Willis. “Dr. Jesus Roberto Rodriguez, Dr. Joanna Kile and Dr. Joseph Fleishman are committed to responding to the needs of the local industry and creating the necessary programs to train our students.”

According to Willis, both industrial machinery maintenance and industrial mechanics positions are in high demand. Because of this need, the advisory committee recommended TSC create the Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance program first because the health care industry also has jobs that require these same skills.

The industrial maintenance and mechanics field is expected to increase almost 11 % in the near future.

In the Rio Grande Valley, the projected increase in job openings between 2016 and 2026 in all industry sectors for industrial maintenance and mechanics related jobs is 24%. In Cameron County, the increase is 10.8% percent, and in Texas, the increase is 56.2%.

“The average pay is $21.39 per hour in the RGV for mechanics and $12 to $14 starting pay for machinery maintenance,” said Willis. “Every manufacturing plant must have maintenance technicians to keep machines working or to shut down the plants. The Valley has lost companies interested in moving here because we didn’t have the skilled workforce. Machining and mechanic skills are critically important occupations and there is a shortage in the Valley.”

The Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance Technology program consists of 60 total credit hours for graduation. Students will be trained on how to maintain and troubleshoot issues with industrial equipment. The curriculum also incorporates projects using specialized simulation trainers that follow industry standards.

A new 5,000 square-foot lab facility was built at TSC’s International Technology, Education and Commerce Center for hands-on training and additional lab space was remodeled to accommodate the new program.

Companies hiring for these positions in the Valley include CK Technologies, Plitt Crane & Rigging, Rich Products, Saint Gobain, Mueller Co., Tella Tool, National Electric Coil Company, and Trico Products. Companies outside of the Valley recruiting graduates of these programs include Toyota, Raytheon, Oncor Energy and Alcoa Aluminum.

For more information about TSC’s new Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance program or to register for classes, please contact the TSC Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Division at 956-295-3745 or email [email protected].