Working with a $70,000 manufacturing machine may seem intimidating for most people, but for students studying Tool and Die at TSTC, it’s just another day of learning.
“There’s a lot of different facets in manufacturing, but this is where it all begins,” explained Department Chair Ricardo Limas, when describing the industry. “Somebody has to dream it and draw it. We bring that dream to life.”
While it’s very easy to wonder what a machinist does, the craftsmanship of a tool and die technician is very prevalent in our everyday lives.
“We make your refrigerators, fenders, appliances and toolboxes. It just goes on and on,” said Limas of the Tool and Die industry. “We teach blueprint reading, machine shop safety, and precision tool reading. That’s where all the magic begins to happen.”
Although the workload of learning all these skills may seem heavy, the programs offered at TSTC only take a few semesters to complete.
“We offer a Tool and Die Certificate 2 that takes four semesters, and and Associate of Applied Science for Tool and Die Technology that takes five semesters,” said Limas. “About percent of our program is hands-on, and that’s what makes our program so attractive to the industry.”
Robert Langley, a third-semester Tool and Die student, also expresses a positive sentiment about the hands-on aspect of the degree.
“I love the fundamentals of the machines. I like creating stuff and being able to use my hands. That’s the thrill of it,” he said. “It’s a lot of hands-on learning, and now I want to continue my education in the program and get my associate degree.”
Upon graduation, students don’t have to worry about the stress that comes with finding a job with a great company, because there is a demand for machinists in the Rio Grande Valley.