On Wednesday, January 18th Texas Southmost College cut the ribbon on two new learning labs for diesel mechanics and pipefitting that will bolster the offerings for students looking to get trained, certified, and start a high-paying career fast.

In-demand careers getting facilities to serve the community 

Texas Southmost College is upping the game when it comes to hands-on career training at the ITEC Center on Mexico Boulevard. 

On Wednesday, Jan 18th, the 96-year-old institute of higher learning cut the ribbon on two new learning labs for diesel mechanics and pipefitting that will bolster the offerings for students looking to get trained, certified, and start a high-paying career fast.  

“Great things are happening at TSC,” Board of Trustees Chairwoman Adela Garza said in her opening remarks, “We worked hard to make this a reality. I had dreams of special things when I became Board Chair, but I could not have dreamed this big. We want to thank all our industry partners because you are the ones who move us, excite us, and propel us to move our economy forward.” 

The college has invested in the ITEC Center to ensure the region has skilled laborers ready to keep the Valley moving and growing while also giving students a chance to work anywhere in the country with ready-to-hire skills.  

Pipefitting and diesel mechanics are the latest programs to receive and install new equipment to give students what they need to be trained and enter the workforce.  

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony Francisco Marin, Harlingen CISD Assistant Director for Transportation, spoke about the need for mechanics in his district and beyond. Marin was a part of the advisory committee that helped develop the new program at Texas Southmost College.  

“School buses are something that is growing, and there is a big demand for diesel mechanics,” Marin said. “When I looked at this program, I knew that this is something that we need in this area and this community. The return on investment in this program will be great, and many lives will be changed because of it.” 

The Diesel Mechanic program has several engines that surround an open classroom space where students can learn both the academic and hands-on sides of the trade. The class is already equipped with engines that students will come across daily when working in their field.  

Marin went on to give a concrete example of the workforce shortages that TSC can help fill.  

“Right now, our fleet, in our school district, we have 116 buses,” Marin said. “We have five technicians, and the ratio should be 15 mechanics per bus. So right now, we are short four mechanics, and that is because we plan to add 20 more buses, so there is a need for a program like this.” 

Associate VP of Instructor, Workforce Development, Dr. Joseph Fleishman, said that the investment by Texas Southmost College positions students to exit Texas Southmost College in a situation with plenty of doors open and the knowledge to diagnose and service the most popular engines.  

“Our board of Trustees approved $730,000 worth of state-of-the-art equipment,” “That’s an amazing sum of money. Entry-level diesel mechanics will be able to run the diagnostic equipment. The diagnostic program enables students to read the system, understand the codes and place a work order for repair. We take it from that level to then tear the engine apart and be able to make repairs when equipment is breaking.” 

Thomas Tynan is the Director of Construction and Manufacturing, and he echoed the possibilities diesel students will graduate with.  

“Diesel is going to be incredibly popular,” Tynan said. “Diesel mechanics are in such demand in the valley, starting with agriculture but also construction and the shipping that goes on at the border. There really are a lot of job opportunities.” 

Pipefitting will allow students to add a new skill set, especially to those who have completed welding, TSC’s most popular workforce training course.  

“I’m thrilled for the college to have the resources that we have today; none of this existed five years ago’ Dr. Fleishman said. “To be able to walk into a 20,000-sq foot area and see rigging and commercial roofing, and insulation and pipefitting and orbital tube welding is amazing to me.”  

New programs are coming fast at Texas Southmost College as the institution responds and adapts to emerging industries. Orbital tube welding and laser welding promise to be on the forefront of the space exploration surge in Brownsville.  

“We’re not just on the cusp of craft training, we’re on the cusp of aerospace,” Dr. Fleishman said. 

Courses start daily with most being taught at night to serve busy individuals driven to pursue a new career. Register today by calling 956-295-3724 or visit tsc.edu/wtce.