Jacob Mathis hit a homerun with the associate degree in Electrical Power and Controls he earned Thursday night during Texas State Technical College’s commencement ceremony at the Stafford Centre.
With a job on the horizon, he said he does not regret hanging up his cleats at Southern Arkansas University and transferring to Texas State Technical College.
“Baseball is my life, but there’s more to life than baseball; like a great-paying career,” said Mathis. “And as a business major I witnessed the struggle many of my classmates had finding jobs and I didn’t want to deal with that struggle especially with the amount of debt I was incurring at the university.”
So only after a year in Arkansas, the Sweny native moved back home and started his journey at TSTC.
Mathis heard about TSTC from his father who works as a project manager at Chevron Phillips 66 and is in charge of hiring technical college graduates such as electricians, welders and pipefitters, which is part of the skilled workforce TSTC provides the state.
“Coming into TSTC I had no idea what I wanted to do,” said Mathis. “But the college has great options, something for everyone, and it was Electrical Power and Controls that caught my eye.”
What the 21-year-old found appealing about the program and TSTC was the affordability and the job security a degree from his program could offer.
“I was already in major debt from my one year in Arkansas with no promise of a job after graduation,” he said. “So to come to TSTC and have that offered to me was a breath of fresh air. I knew I had made the right decision.”
Although the first day of class was intimidating for Mathis, he said his passion quickly grew for the field and the more knowledge he gained, the more he wanted to learn.
“There is no secret to what this field entails anymore,” he said. “Because of my instructors and the hands-on, real-world training I’ve received I am more than prepared for what I will face out in the workforce. No other school offers this type of learning experience.”
Mathis, who already has a position lined up with Savor Power in Houston as a field technician, credits TSTC for making the job search process easier and giving him the skills and confidence to do it.
“I know if I had stayed in Arkansas I would not have this success right now,” said Mathis. “I would be broke, and scrabbling and struggling to find a job, but instead I’m starting my career with great pay and a benefits package.”
And although Mathis misses playing baseball, he said nothing can replace the relief of knowing he has a career waiting for him. He has no regrets.
He still finds time to occasionally play on city softball leagues, and to pay his way through school, he also served as an umpire for city and school leagues.
He even worked at a welding shop, as a TSTC student ambassador and landscaper during his time at TSTC.
“College is an investment, no matter where you go, but it’s a great investment,” he said. “I never minded doing what I had to do to secure a future for myself, but TSTC even helped me with the financial burden.”
Mathis received a $3,000 Texan Success Scholarship from TSTC, which helped him pay tuition, limit some of the jobs he was working and purchase the equipment he needed for class and for the workforce.
“This was a huge load off my shoulders and I want to thank TSTC for that,” he said. “They’ve helped me achieve my goals in more ways than one.”
Mathis celebrated the night with his family and his baseball friends from Arkansas and said he can’t wait to see where this milestone takes him because his field is full of future possibilities.
For more information on TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls program, visit tstc.edu
The deadline to register for Fall 2019 is August 23. The first day of class is August 26.