Increasing Possibilities: ACC Manufacturing student returns to the classroom to skill-up

Manufacturing Student Rebekah Tangney

For Austin Community College District (ACC) student Rebekah Tangney, training in manufacturing is the key to sharpening and widening her skillset to open new possibilities.

“I already have a four-year degree, but learning new skills is great for my career,” says Tangney. “I like the challenge of proving to myself that I can learn and conquer things that seemed unthinkable previously.”

Rebekah is currently working in the Information Technology (IT) sector. She enrolled in Engineering Technology courses through ACC’s Manufacturing program to gain an edge in the job market.

“There are a few niche IT fields and applications where knowledge of hardware is key. Taking courses at ACC allows me to combine what I already know about software engineering and OS administration with knowledge about the physical computer hardware.”

Manufacturing remains one of Austin’s most rapidly growing industries. Currently, Central Texas employs 57,000 people in its more than 320 high-tech manufacturing firms, according to the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association.

“The industry is changing, and the need for skilled workers with higher education is growing,” says Laura Marmalejo, ACC Manufacturing department chair. “There has been an increase in the technical knowledge that is required in manufacturing because of the advances. ACC works closely with manufacturing companies to keep our curriculum relevant and help train and skill-up the workforce.”

Austin’s $12.3 billion manufacturing industry allows workers to invent, design, build, and repair equipment and technologies that produce U.S. products in a global economy –– a field Rebekah says needs more women.

“The lack of women in the field continues to be an issue. I want to encourage other women to think about a career in IT and manufacturing. The more of us there are, the better and more welcoming the field will be.”

In addition to associate degree programs in manufacturing, the college offers fast-track training courses. The Certified Production Technician course can be completed in 10 weeks and allows students to earn a Level 1 certification for entry-level manufacturing jobs. The certificate also stacks toward a two-year degree or higher.

For more information on ACC’s manufacturing programs, visit