Training program

UP Supports Texas Diesel-Tech Training Program

Written by

Union Pacific, Corporate Communications

A group of SWTJC students gather around the $380,000 contribution check from UP. Behind the check are, from left, Ken Kuwamura (in light blue), Manager-Talent Acquisition, UP; Raquel Espinoza, Senior Director of Public Affairs, UP; Esmerelda Arreola, SWTJC Diesel Technology Program Laboratory Assistant; Texas State Representative Eddie Morales and his wife, Helen Morales; and Tom Blevins, Superintendent-Train Operations, UP. (Caption and photograph courtesy of UP)

When the Southwest Texas Junior College (SWTJC) Diesel Technology program at Eagle Pass had to turn away some students due to a lack of space and resources, Union Pacific (UP) stepped in.

Inspired by the growing need for workforce development initiatives, AT THE TOP is in partnership with SWTJC to expand industrial trade careers through La Frontera’s diesel program expansion project (“The Frontier”).

A rendering of the Southwest Texas Junior College Technical Training Center facility, which will grow from 5,300 square feet to 7,450 square feet. (Caption and rendering courtesy of UP)

This expansion is expected to increase the program’s admissions capacity by 40%, nearly doubling the 30 students currently supported by the program.

Catalyzing the project is a $380,000 contribution from UP through the Class I Railroad’s Community Ties Giving program, supporting the careers of hundreds of students in communities across southwest Texas. The contribution focuses on the expansion of the diesel technology training area, as well as the purchase of specialized practical training equipment.

Spearheading UP’s involvement in the diesel program expansion project is Senior Director of Public Affairs Raquel Espinoza, who highlights the need for diesel mechanics in the region. She also said that students would graduate from the program with skills that would make them a good candidate for the UP team.

“The goal of this partnership is to encourage students to further their education and see themselves working as business professionals at Union Pacific or other successful companies,” said Johnny Guzman, Dean of Applied Science at the SWTJC. “These efforts will extend to various technical trades programs in the Applied Science and Workforce Training departments, such as Professional Truck Driver, Power Line Technician, Welding Technology and automotive technology.”

The expansion of SWTJC’s Diesel Technology Program Building is expected to be completed in August 2023.

This article was originally published in the Inside Track section of the UP website.

Front row: Judy Canales, executive director of the Maverick County Economic Development Alliance; Esmerelda Arreola, SWTJC Diesel Technology Program Laboratory Assistant; Yolanda Ramon, Mayor of Eagle Pass, Pro-Tem; Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas; Raquel Espinoza, Senior Director of Public Affairs, UP; the Chairman of the SWTJC Board of Directors, Dr. Harry Watkins; Dr. Hector Gonzales, president of Southwest Texas Junior College; Victor Lopez, SWTJC Board Member; Vice Chairman of the SWTJC Board of Directors, Dr. Antonio Rivera; Jorge Barrera, Chairman of the Board of Eagle Pass ISD. Second row: Ken Kuwamura (in light blue), Manager-Talent Acquisition, UP; SWTJC Diesel Instructor Victor Caballero; Texas State Representative Eddie Morales; Lucas Limbrick, SWTJC Diesel Instructor; SWTJC Dean of Applied Science and Workforce Education Johnny Guzman; Tom Blevins, Superintendent-Train Operations, UP; and Eagle Pass Town Manager George Antuna. (Caption and photograph courtesy of UP)

Further reading: UP, Lone Star College trains truckers with simulated railroad crossings