Public Administration Program – Advancing careers in the public sector
STC alumna Hilda Pedraza, who currently serves as Pharr’s City Clerk, talks about how the college’s Public Administration Program guided her into an ideal job in the public sector.
The Public Administration Program at South Texas College provides the required skillsets for high demand public sector jobs and invites students to serve their community while building on their careers.
Among the program’s many successful alumni, Hilda Pedraza says her career choice stems from a life devoted to public service. A long-time employee for the City of Pharr, Pedraza said her job as City Clerk required the proper education and experience in order to effectively manage the various municipal laws and procedures.
Returning to college after nearly 30 years, Pedraza said she took advantage of night and online courses at South Texas College, which enabled her to manage a high-paced career along with her goals for higher education.
Through sheer resilience and tenacity, she earned an associate degree in Public Administration in December 2018 despite a full-time work schedule with the City of Pharr.
“I didn't have the opportunity to go back to college thirty years ago so when I started working for the city 18 years ago I told myself ‘You know what, it's time for me to further my career’,” Hilda said. “Earning my degree helped with my current job because this position requires a lot of education and a lot of experience. We attend a lot of conferences because we have to keep updated with the laws and what we do.”
“Earning my degree helped with my current job because this position requires a lot of education and a lot of experience. We attend a lot of conferences because we have to keep updated with the laws and what we do.”
The Associates of Applied Science degree in Public Administration prepares students for career opportunities in the public sector including government, social service organizations, and community agencies.
The program includes a Capstone: Co-op in Public Administration designed to give students real-world experience related to the area of their career interest. Faculty says there a variety of positions available in the public sector for those with Public Administration degrees.
“There’s a need for talent in public finance, IT, public works, transportation, human resources, and communications,” said Diana Lucio, Department Chair for STC’s Public Administration Program.
“The Public Administration Program at STC includes courses in all these areas to provide students a well- rounded learning experience for public sector work,” Lucio said. “There is likely a job in the public sector to fit your interest. We encourage students to be a part of their community and serve their community while building on their careers.”
Public sector jobs are among the top three in jobs in Texas, according to a report by Texas Workforce Commission.
On a national level, a study by the National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA) reports that state government jobs rose 11 percent from 2013 to 2017.
At STC, the program enables students to understand the political, legal, ethical and social context of public administration and includes areas such as public sector management, budgeting, ethics, and supervision. The program includes a three credit hour practicum designed to give the student real-world experience related to the area of their career interest.
Pedraza says the program has ensured she is ready to complete a bachelor degree in Organizational Leadership or Business Management.
“I love what I do. It's never too late for people to go back to school and get an education,” Hilda said. “Nowadays, it's very important to get your education and STC has great programs, great teachers, and my overall experience here has been great.
“The opportunity is here. Everything is in your own hands,” she said. “We just need to learn to take advantage of those opportunities.”