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TSTC First in Texas to Join Tesla START Program

(WACO, Texas) – Starting in March, Texas State Technical College will become the first college in Texas to host the Tesla START training program. 

Tesla START is an accelerated 12-week training program designed to equip students with the skills necessary to become electric vehicle technicians. Following completion of the program, Tesla will work with successful students for placement in a Tesla Service Center in North America. 

Rudy Cervantez, TSTC’s statewide department chair for Automotive Technology, said the advanced training program will teach students to work on Tesla’s electric vehicles. He said graduates of TSTC’s automotive technology, aviation maintenance and electrical programs could be a good fit for the work.

Cervantez said the program is open to everyone in the community to apply, and students will be hired by Tesla. The training program will be housed in Waco at TSTC’s Kultgen Automotive Center. Tesla will provide the instructor, training equipment, vehicles, tools and curriculum for the program. 

Cervantez said each Tesla START class is about a dozen students, and will have three 12-week sessions this year. Students will develop technical expertise and earn certifications through a blended approach of in-class theory, hands-on labs and self-paced learning. Students are employed by Tesla as hourly interns.

Kelly Filgo, TSTC’s executive director of special projects, said working with Tesla is a great example of TSTC’s state-directed mandate to emphasize “highly specialized advanced and emerging technical and vocational areas for certificates or associate degrees.”

“Tesla recognizes we are a good pool to pull talent from,” Filgo said.

“For more than fifty years, TSTC has worked hand in glove with Texas employers to fulfill their needs for a skilled workforce,” said Mike Reeser, Chancellor & CEO of TSTC. “This partnership with Tesla is another example of the innovative manner in which we place Texans in great paying jobs.”

There are currently six other Tesla START partnerships with colleges in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina and Washington. The program launched in 2018 and has had a total of more than 300 graduates to date. 

For more information on Tesla START, go to tesla.com/careers/tesla-start.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

Written by Daniel Perry on January 23, 2020
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