• March 27, 2024

STC Advanced Manufacturing Students Awarded Scholarships

STC Advanced Manufacturing Students Awarded Scholarships
Leadership with STC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT) program were presenters at STMA’s membership meeting, which took place recently in McAllen. At the event, AMT introduced Precision Manufacturing students Jose Maldonado and Heriberto Jalomo, who each received a $2,000 scholarship by STMA for the fall 2023 and spring 2024 semesters.

The South Texas Manufacturers Association (STMA, a longtime partner of South Texas College, recently awarded two Precision Manufacturing Technology students with $2,000 scholarships.

Jose Maldonado and Heriberto Jalomo are this year’s STMA scholarship recipients for the fall 2023 and spring 2024 semesters.

“I think today was a great way of introducing two truly exceptional students and letting companies at the event know who we are and the work we do,” said Advanced Manufacturing Technology Chair Erika Guerra. “These scholarships are a great help for our students, and they are the direct result of the partnerships we foster. We had companies talking to us right after our presentation asking about how they can further help, so I am happy with the end goal.”

The students were also invited to talk about their success at STC during the award ceremony and STMA membership event.

Maldonado, an STC student and Army veteran, who served as military police, said he is studying for an associate degree in Advanced Manufacturing. This will be his second degree from the college after completing an associate degree in Criminal Justice in 2018.

“The scholarship has helped me with everything, from the tools that I need for my classes to just having that support to get me through to my degree,” Maldonado said. “To students looking to succeed, I would tell them that it’s so important to dream big. They must chase those dreams, and whatever they enjoy they have to follow that passion, because it’s important to find something you really want to do. You have to keep going.”

Jalomo, also an STMA scholarship recipient, said he received his initial certificate in Precision Manufacturing Technology as a dual credit student and is currently pursuing his Precision Manufacturing Technology Associate of Applied Science. He said he travels every day from Progreso to STC’s Technology Campus, and helps out other students who need rides to get to class.

“This scholarship has helped me so much as I commute long distance from Progreso every day. It has helped me with gas and travel expenses,” Jalomo said. “Thanks to the STMA I have also been able to afford all the tools I need to help me complete my degree. I am proof that as a student, you need to keep looking forward. Don’t ever quit on your dreams, just keep realizing what you need to do to get there.”

More than 10 years since STMA first began offering annual scholarships to standout students, group leadership say they have been busy establishing the model that is enabling companies to join in support for students entering the workforce.

STMA first began offering scholarships to students in 2012. Initially starting with two $1,000 scholarships a year.

Beginning in fall 2023, STMA leadership said they were able to increase the amount to $2,000 with the support of local economic development corporations.

“We are trying to pick students who are really committed to finishing that associate degree and we hope to establish a model that other companies can follow by stepping up to the plate and offering scholarships to students,” said STMA Executive Director Mike Willis. “There is a competition among all industry because the labor market is so tight, so it’s really important for our industry leaders to understand that we have programs like Advanced Manufacturing at STC where young people by the hundreds are self-selecting to get specific advanced manufacturing skills to work in our industry.  We have to find a way to connect them so that the companies know about the students and their desire to work in our industry so we can place them.”

What first began in 1995 with one faculty member, one cohort and 15 students in one facility at STC’s Technology Campus, the Advanced Manufacturing Technology program has since expanded into a brand-new building which is home to six faculty along with five dual credit instructors and over 200 students in Hidalgo and Starr counties.

The program currently offers five degree plans including a Manufacturing Technician Occupational Skills Award, Mechatronics Technician Occupational Skills Award, Precision Manufacturing Technology Certificate, Robotics and Mechatronics Technology Certificate, and an Associate of Applied Science in Precision Manufacturing Technology.

“Addressing members with STMA emphasizes to them that we exist to serve as partners and invite them so they can see our students graduate and become potential employees,” Guerra said. “In turn, we hope they can let us know what skills are needed so we can continue meeting industry demand.”

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