CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program will graduate 30 students from their Del Mar College location on Thursday.
The newly trained carpenters started their celebration early today by demonstrating skills they acquired during the 10-week program.
"This program is very important to the Coastal Bend because one of the things we realized after Hurricane Harvey, and all the devastation it did, is that we did not have enough carpenters and tradespeople to help rebuild Texas," Del Mar College's Rebuild Texas Project Manager Arnold Mendez said.
The program is made possible by an $879,000 grant from the Rebuild Texas Fund. Rebuild Texas Fund Program Manager Cristina Cornejo came to celebrate on Wednesday with Del Mar College students.
"We were really excited to come and celebrate today," she said. "We got to meet the students and see the tiny homes that they're building and the work that they're doing and see the skill sets put to use."
Classes are held at three locations in Rockport, Ingleside and DMC’s West Campus, with a total of 70 expected graduates on Thursday. Program administrators anticipate adding locations in Sinton and Refugio in January 2020.
"One of our major goals was to make sure we were taking programming to the students." Cornejo said.
One of the student speakers at Wednesday's Del Mar celebration was program graduate Jhon Chacin.
"We're leaving this program prepared to walk right onto a job site and start working in the field that we're studying, you know -- carpentry, framing," he said. "We'll walk into a company and immediately be able to pick up a tool, the nail gun, the hammer and start doing the work we learned."
Chacin said he ultimately wants to use the hands-on training to help people.
"I really hope to get into the residential construction business and build homes and, of course, whenever there is devastation, be able to go out and start helping families that need those homes back up," he said.
The next session is scheduled to run from Oct. 7 through Dec. 17.
More than 475 registrants are currently on the waiting list. For more information call (361) 698-2122 or visit Del Mar's website .