South Texas College has persisted through the COVID-19 pandemic in continuing to offer resources and study pathways to students and the Rio Grande Valley community. Particularly in business, public safety, and technology courses, the college perseveres in offering opportunities to female students to pursue studies in traditionally male courses.
“A huge advantage students have for a majority of our programs is that our certificates will stack into the associate degree,” Lozano said. “We even have some technical bachelor’s degrees here at STC that accept most of these technical courses. It’s intended for students to come in and in a short amount of time, learn skills that can get them a job. Then, they can continue to work their way up.”
The programs that students can pursue through STC’s business, public safety, and technology studies include:
- Business administration
- Public administration
- Architectural & engineering design technology
- Automotive technology
- Computer and advanced technologies
- Construction supervision program
- Diesel technology
- Electrician technology
- Heating, ventilation, A/C & refrigeration
- Information technology
- Advanced manufacturing technology
- Fire science
- Law enforcement
Lozano noted that a number of jobs that these courses of study prepare students for were deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early stages of the pandemic, when many businesses were forced to close their doors to the public, people working in those positions were furloughed or even laid off. Essential workers continued to report to their positions.
“The world goes on and they need to be there for that,” Lozano said. “It really is a new territory for all of us and we’re moving forward very cautiously.”
Students of the business, public safety, and technology division have the added benefit of learning from instructors with real-world experience, giving them a leg up when it comes to expectations in the workplace.
“The more we are able to put students into the classroom to work on their projects, the more that they’ll learn and get exposed to real projects,” Lozano said. “Students will sometimes get jobs after the first or second semester classes. That happens quite a bit because they have those credentials and they’re employable.”
The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed students to work harder and faculty and staff to innovate on new ways to teach.
“A lot of the faculty and program chairs had to jump into finding simulation software or apps that would help guide the students through any pending objectives,” Lozano said. “They had to think outside the box and see what the students needed.”
With courses of study already challenging enough, Lozano has lauded students who have successfully juggled study and home life — particularly female students caring for children at home while advancing their knowledge and opportunity.
Lozano recalled one such student talking about the idea of persisting through uncertain times as she worked to develop new skills and knowledge.
The student remarked, “‘she persists — that resonates with me because I did persist. Through all of these challenges, I’ve persisted,’” Lozano recalled. “She is part of one of these success stories. We have so many stories like that. And many of us professionals can relate to them. We have our children home — a lot of our students are in the same boat. Being able to push through all of those trials to get to completing this semester — that in of itself was a huge deal.
“I think we all overcame all kinds of challenges these last couple of months.”
Learn more about these exceptional programs and essential careers at South Texas College by visiting bt.southtexascollege.edu/persist. Funding was provided through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board with Carl D. Perkins Basic funds.