GEAR UP Graduate Prepares for Career in Automation

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HARLINGEN – A GEAR UP graduate is taking his future career a step further by making sure he’ll always be in demand.

Texas State Technical College student Jose Garcia is studying automation with a focus on mechatronics technology.  

“You program robots and you automate the process of the making of a product or a job,” he says.

Garcia says it requires precision and involved robots, coding, and being an operator.

Eldwin Leija, the lead instructor for the mechatronics and industrial systems technology program at TSTC, says he sees the program “as being the future of the technician.”

“No longer are we going to have just an electronics technician, a mechanical technician, quality control, maintenance, I believe it’s all going to be combined into what we have here: the mechatronics technician,” he says.

“Plug in the robots to the computers, we code the robots, make sure the sensor are coded properly and then we run the program here on the floor, and test it out,” explains Garcia. “So, if something goes wrong well, you get a bad grade.”

Leija says in this career, you only get one shot to get it right. If you mess up multiple times and you could end up without a job, he says.

It’s a reality students in the program are preparing for.

“During the screening process, they ask questions about POC’s, about hydraulic systems, motor controls, and they were actually surprised at how much knowledge she already had in those areas,” said the instructor.

The training students receive at TSTC gives them experience to land a job come graduation.

Garcia says he’ll walk across the stage in spring of 2019 and looks forward to being the man behind the ‘bot.

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