(RED OAK) – Texas State Technical College alumnus Matt Delong recently discussed his path to TSTC and to his current success.
Before enrolling in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program, Delong had been living in Pennsylvania and working in a job that he said he had come to dread. Due to an injury and to be closer to relatives, Delong and his family moved to Texas, where he decided to take the steps necessary for a career change.
After a quick Google search, Delong found TSTC’s North Texas Diesel program, enrolled and found it to be the change that he had been looking for.
“Mechanics were always happy,” he said. “I was like, ‘Man, one day I would really like to do that instead of what I’m doing now.’ I went to TSTC and was fortunate to have some really good instructors, and they taught me how to be a diesel mechanic. Now I have the best job of my life.”
Delong now works for the Waxahachie Independent School District as a bus mechanic, a job that he said he loves and is proud of.
“I still get up every day and look forward to going to work,” he said. “I’m doing something to help my community out too, along with my kids. My kids use the buses that I work on, so it kind of makes me feel proud that I get to do that.”
Matt Dobbs, lead instructor of the Diesel program, said as a student Delong was always looking to help.
“He was always willing to help other students,” Dobbs said. “He was always a positive role model to the younger (students). We had a couple that didn’t come from such good backgrounds, and he was always a positive influence, praising them.”
Charles Abshier, another instructor for the Diesel program, also commented on Delong’s positive personality and leadership.
“He was really interested in being a good student,” Abshier said. “He’s personable, very likable and just stayed interested in class. We had some younger students in there, and he helped mentor them to get them to keep up with the class.”
Delong attributes a lot of his success to TSTC and the education and experience he gained during his time as a student.
“I could have just gone and gotten a job,” he said. “But (TSTC) gave me the confidence that I could do the job. Not just learning it, but doing it in the classroom and then performing it and going, ‘Oh wow, I really can do this job.’”
Delong also said it is because of people at TSTC, in large part, that he has his current job.
“They helped me retool my resume, and I went to a whole bunch of practice interviews — all of them that TSTC had,” Delong said. “(They) found the job that I have now. I owe TSTC quite a bit.”
According to onetonline.org, jobs for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists were expected to increase 19% in Texas from 2020 to 2030. Such technicians employed in the state can earn an annual average salary of $47,850, the website stated.
Diesel Equipment Technology is available at TSTC’s Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. Depending on campus location, the program offers Associate of Applied Science degrees with different specializations, as well as several certificates of completion and a Basic Diesel occupational skills achievement award.
The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee program. If a participating graduate does not find a job in their field within six months after graduating, TSTC will refund their tuition.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.