Reading time ( words)
Elvia Quintanilla heads the Texas Technical Trade School, a state-funded training and work program that is a win-win-win for everyone—students, area employers, and the industry. It’s tax-funded, meaning it’s free for all those involved. Elvia enjoys going to work every day, and she wants to spread the news about how she’s giving students the same opportunities she had.
Barry Matties: Elvia, I understand that you are heading a trade school that you founded. Is that right?
Elvia Quintanilla: Yes. I started a Texas trade school in July 2020, when COVID started. I had been in the industry for 10 years after starting as a 23-year-old single mom working at a trade school. I had seen an opportunity in trades like electronics and HVAC. I loved the industry. I never thought about leaving my trade school and had even become an assistant director over 10 years.
But with COVID, it all shifted, and I decided to resign. I didn’t have the same vision for helping people anymore. It was like a heartbreak. So, I started my own school. Because I had already been running another one, I thought, “Look, I’ll do it and I’ll succeed, because I am passionate about what I do and I really want to help people the right way. Or, I don’t make it and I’ll just go back to working at another school.” But here I am, two years later, and we’ve trained almost 80 students in one year. This month marks our first full year of training.
Matties: Please tell us a little bit about your program and what students are getting out of it.
Quintanilla: The Texas Technical Trade School is a training provider for the state of Texas. Our program falls under the Texas Workforce Commission. It’s a hands-on electrical technician program designed for kids who don’t want to, don’t have the money to, or who don’t have the opportunity to go to college. They take a 200-hour class taught by a state-certified electrical engineer. They learn how to read schematics and blueprints. They learn how to work with fluorescent lighting, ceiling fans, and fluorescent breaker boxes in both commercial and residential. Now, we’re working with others in electronics to see how we can add more soldering and specified schematics to help train the next generation in this high-demand trade.
To read this entire conversation, which appeared in the April 2023 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.