TSTC welding student finds success following his passion


ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Historically, a four-year degree has been established as the standard for post-secondary education, which has often led to a lesser view of other paths.

“The reason why I think that when I was in high school people looked down on trade schools was that it’s blue collar work,” says Texas State Technical College Welding Instructor Lei Barnes.

Barnes, like many others, faced the notion that trade schools are secondary to four-year degrees and chose to pursue the field that interested him the most.

“I think we’re seeing a lot more opportunity and a lot more people wanting to be in a trade school because they see a quicker turnaround, and less money that they’re spending in school,” said Barnes.

It was that cheaper cost and his love of welding that attracted Dylon Moreno to the program. Following his time in the Marine Corps, Dylon spent years in the oil field. Now he’s come to TSTC to hone that experience into a degree.

Dylon says that a four-year degree was never really something he considered, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t sprinting toward the same goal.

“The goal is to find somewhere that’s stable, with benefits, and is enjoyable. You have to enjoy what you do,” says Moreno.

It’s students like Dylon that are paving the way for others to take the trade school route.

“The more we progress, the more we can recruit. The more we show people what the opportunities are, the better it’s going to be for these guys that come in to a trade school,” said Barnes.

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