CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Nueces County Sheriff's Office and Del Mar College have partnered for the first time to offer select inmates at the McKinzie Jail Annex a special carpentry program.
"It's a carpentry course that has one goal in mind," said Arnold Mendez, Program Manager at Del Mar College. "And that is to get people employed, to give them skills that makes them able to get employed when they go out to a carpentry job."
The partnership between DMC and the NCSO has been in the works for over a year. The six-week program began May 23, with the second group of students starting the course on June 30.
"We've already finished one class, one cohort," said Mendez. "We're on the second one and we expect this class to be offered every six weeks, so it'll be a continuous thing."
During the training, students learn how to use tools and equipment to put together a multi-purpose building.
Jeremy Pena is among the first group to finish the program. He said he feels like he's finally accomplished something and looks forward to getting a job where he can put his skills to use.
"I like the hands-on part, I like that we learn how to do the basics of building a house, so out in the real world, I can use this to get a job or use this to start my own carpentry business," Pena said.
Officials say providing participants the opportunity to learn a trade will not only help improve their own quality of live but meet the demand for skilled workers in the construction industry in South Texas.