Army Veteran Lupe Mendoza was looking for a career to pursue after serving six years in the military. Mission accomplished.
The Richmond native, husband and father recently graduated from Texas State Technical College, which he calls the beginning to a new life.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I just knew I needed to move on in civilian life,” said Mendoza. “So after researching I found machining and it seemed challenging, so I went for it.”
Mendoza decided to put his veteran benefits and G.I. Bill to good use and enrolled in TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology in 2015.
After serving numerous tours overseas, Mendoza returned with a spinal injury being labeled as disabled by doctors.
“The work in the military is hard and over time it takes a toll on your body,” he said. “But I wasn’t going to let that stop me.”
As a veteran, Mendoza had access to TSTC’s Veterans Center for help with enrolling and benefit processes.
“I was impressed with the type of help I received as a veteran,” said Mendoza. “The veterans team from Harlingen would travel to me in Fort Bend County to assist me with everything. They played a big part in my success at TSTC.”
Another person Mendoza credits with his success was former TSTC Precision Machining Instructor Michael Barnes.
Mendoza said it was Barnes’ extensive real-world experiences that he shared with all of his students that made all of the difference.
“He treated the class like an actual machine shop and students like employees,” said Mendoza. “It was actual on-the job training and he was our biggest supporter.”
Despite the fact that Mendoza grew up around construction and working in a steel mill with his father, he said nothing compared to the foundation and hands-on experience he got at TSTC.
Mendoza became so captivated with TSTC’s teaching methods that he concurrently enrolled in Welding Technology. He is expected to earn his certificate Summer 2017, in time to graduate at TSTC’s In Fort Bend County’s first commencement ceremony in August.
“I have nothing but praise for TSTC and I’m so glad I followed this path,” said Mendoza. “I can’t thank the instructors and staff enough for all of the help they provided.”
What’s in the future for Mendoza?
He said he is considering enrolling at the University of Houston to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering but is also looking into making a move to Harlingen to do metal work for his uncle who owns two gun shops.
“TSTC has given me the skills I need to move on with my life,” he said. “My options are now endless and TSTC made that easier for me.”
For more information on Precision Machining Technology call 346-239- 3441 and for Welding Technology call 346-239-3452.
Registration for Fall 2017 is already in progress. To register or apply anytime visit tstc.edu.