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Technical colleges see increase in students enrolling for oil industry training programs

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:51:05 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 20 2013 12:09:51 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Texas State Technical College West Texas and Cisco College have seen big increases in their technical programs related to the oil industry.

Lauren Jorgensen started taking diesel classes at TSTC West Texas last month.

"With the diesel field there's so many different job opportunities are available and they all pay really well," said Jorgensen. 

With the potential oil boom from the Cline Shale many people like Jorgensen are training for open jobs.

"I really don't know where else in America you have the type of activity going on that we have in the region right now and of course some of those new programs play to the activity in the cline shale," said Kyle Smith, vice president of student learning.

That includes students like Hector Hernandez, who said what he learns at TSTC could mean a better future.

"With the money I want to have my own truck and have my own business and help out my family," Hernandez said. 

Hernandez and Jorgensen are two of 1,200 students that decided TSTC was a better fit than a university.  That’s a 23 percent increase over last year. 

"I just looked at it as I can do anything that any of the boys can do and as long as I stay in that mindset I can do that," Jorgensen said. 

It’s a trend that Cisco College is seeing as well, although overall their enrollment is down.

"Evidently the word is out welding is hot right now and hot in the sense, it is hot literally, it is hot simply because there's a job market. You go west and you're going to get a job," Cisco College Abilene Educational Center Provost Carol Dupree said.

Many are already doing just that.

"I think that's part reason we've had the drop is because of the oil and gas thing that's going on west of here because people are going to work instead of coming to school," said Dupree. 

At TSTC West Texas, 1,282 students are enrolled this year. On the same date last year, the college had 1,041.

At Cisco College this year, there are 3,591 students – compared to 3,821 last year.