Area high school students experience TSTC’s Precision Machining Summer Camp

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Damian Rangel, a senior from Lyford High School, squares an aluminum block using a mill machine in the Precision Machining Summer Camp hosted by TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education department at TSTC’s Harlingen campus. (Courtesy: Texas State Technical College/TSTC)

HARLINGEN — Around 20 area high school students from Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties are participating in a free Precision Machining Summer Camp hosted by Texas State Technical College’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education department.

Myra De Leon, TSTC’s executive director for Workforce Training and Continuing Education, said the camp is intended to educate the students about precision machining and the types of jobs that an education in the field can lead to.

“Prospective students can learn details about what the career field entails and the high-paying job opportunities that are available,” she said.

The two-week program gives students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and earn a certificate from TSTC’s Workforce Training program.

Kenneth Butler, who is in ninth grade at Raymondville High School, said the camp is giving him a chance to learn an engaging skill.

“I wanted to learn how to make parts that are useful for everyday purposes,” he said. “I find computer numerical control machines interesting because you can create an object with your hands. Although I’m just entering high school, I do have plans to attend TSTC. The instructors here do a great job of explaining things that we need to learn.”

Damian Rangel, who is a senior at Lyford High School, said he is learning valuable knowledge that he wants to apply to a specific trade.

“I want to learn how to create parts that can be used for automobiles because I have a strong interest in the automotive field,” he said.

Andy Rodriguez, who is in 10th grade at Harlingen High School, said the camp’s first week has been a great experience.

“I have enjoyed the process with the mill machine,” he said. “The process it takes to get an object done is rewarding. We worked on cutting an aluminum block, and I was pleased with what I created.”

According to, CNC tool programmers earn an average of $61,740 per year in Texas, where the number of such jobs was projected to increase 47% from 2020 to 2030.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion in Precision Machining Technology, as well as a certificate of completion in Machining, at its East Williamson County, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas and Waco campuses.

Precision Machining Technology is one of nine programs at TSTC that have money-back guarantees. If participating students do not have a job in their field within six months of graduation, they will receive a full refund of their tuition. For more information, visit

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit