Precision machining bootcamp draws high school-age students to TSTC

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Francisco Garcia (right), a TSTC Precision Machining Technology instructor, explains how to place an aluminum part in a CNC mill to Matthew Montiel, a recent graduate of the South Texas ISD Science Academy, during the ACE CNC training bootcamp hosted at TSTC. (Courtesy: Texas State Technical College/TSTC)

HARLINGEN — Texas State Technical College recently welcomed some Rio Grande Valley high school-age students to TSTC’s Harlingen campus for the America’s Cutting Edge (ACE) computer numerical control machining training bootcamp.

The no-cost, one-week bootcamp was conducted by TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education program in partnership with the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), and was designed to help aspiring high school-age students in their pursuit of higher education.

Matthew Montiel, who recently graduated from the South Texas ISD Science Academy, said he enjoyed working with the CNC equipment on the first day.

“The instructors allowed us to use their machines, get acquainted with the equipment, and taught us about safety when using the equipment and tools,” the Brownsville resident said. “I’m considering enrolling at TSTC in the fall, thanks to this experience.”

Isaac Moya, a junior at Harlingen Collegiate High School, said his engineering teacher suggested that he sign up to learn more about CNC machines.

“I learned how the CNC mill works, and I need to improve at coding,” he said.

Myra De Leon, TSTC’s executive director for Workforce Training and Continuing Education, said the bootcamp gave high school students a glimpse of TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program.

“The students learned about machining and the tools that are used in the industry,” she said.  “Our goal was for them to have a better understanding of manufacturing jobs that are available across the United States because it’s a high-demand occupation.”

Eileen Baskett, project specialist for TEES Manufacturing Workforce Initiatives, said the bootcamp gives individuals an opportunity to gain new high-tech skills in the workforce that strengthen the foundation of America’s manufacturing capabilities.

“High school students are able to gain advanced skills to compete for highly paid machining jobs in our manufacturing workforce,” she said.

Students received an ACE certificate of completion for completing the bootcamp and were awarded 2.75 continuing education units recognized by the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, TEES Workforce Development, and TSTC.

TSTC’s Workforce Training and Continuing Education program will hold a second ACE CNC bootcamp from July 8 to 12. For more information, contact Janeth Robles at [email protected].

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