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Couple takes Welding Technology classes together at TSTC

Ben Barkley
TSTC Communications
Photo caption: Jason and Taylor Bigbie are taking Welding Technology classes together at TSTC. Jason Bigbie plans to open a business after graduation, and Taylor Bigbie wants to help him when she is not working as a paramedic.

Taylor and Jason Bigbie are spending a lot of time together.

The Bigbies are enrolled in Texas State Technical College's Welding Technology program in Brownwood. For Jason Bigbie, he wants to use his education to open a business, while Taylor Bigbie wants to help him when she is not working as a paramedic.

"I wanted to do this as a hobby to help him," said Taylor Bigbie, who graduated from TSTC's emergency medical technician and paramedic programs in 2017 and 2019, respectively, and is pursuing a certificate in welding. "I wanted to be able to help him on my days off."

Justin Bigbie, who is pursuing an associate degree, hopes to start a business that constructs metal buildings in the Brownwood area.

"My wife inspired me to take advantage of my military benefits and go to school," the U.S. Army veteran said. "I would be able to learn something that I can do to provide for my family."

He said his wife is taking the same courses that he is so that she can help him when he is on a job.

"I know that I can trust her if I can't find someone to help me on the job," he said. "I know that it is going to be a hobby for her."

The couple said there will not be a competition during class. They will help each other when they are in need of it.

Neither of them had any previous experience with welding. But completing assignments is teaching them the proper way to work.

Over the next few weeks, Justin Bigbie will be helping a friend construct a metal building at the couple's church. He said that will be a good way to put what he learns to use.

Taylor Bigbie said the hands-on approach at TSTC is the best way for her to learn the trade.

"It is teaching me what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong," she said.

She added that the welding program is "much easier" for her than completing the paramedic program.

"That was really intense because not only did we have the class and lab work, we had clinicals to complete," she said of the paramedic program.

While taking classes and working has taken its toll on the Bigbie family, neither said they regret the decision to take the course together.

"I think more spouses should do things like this together," Taylor Bigbie said. "It does put some strain on us, but knowing we are doing it together makes us feel good."

Justin Bigbie said his wife's involvement in his future business will provide security for the family.

"I know she is giving back to our community as a paramedic. Now she wants to give back to our family by helping and supporting me," he said.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.