Hurricane Harvey recovery: Del Mar College offers free carpentry training to meet demands

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One Rockport business still recovering from Hurricane Harvey was shocked as they discovered a foot of water in storage units. Rachel Denny Clow, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Rockport resident Terry Roller has been retired for 13 years. But he jumped at the opportunity to give back to his community in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Roller, 69, has been involved in disaster relief work after the 2017 storm ravaged homes, businesses and other buildings in the region. As rebuilding efforts continue almost two years later, and with hurricane season underway, he wanted to be skilled enough to repair roofs, drywall and water-damaged interiors. So in May, he enrolled in a free, 10-week carpentry training program at Del Mar College.

“The teachers are excellent, and it’ll be really helpful,” Roller said. “The best thing that happened from the hurricane was the number of people that came from all over the country to help rebuild.”

The college  is offering the free Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training program to meet the ongoing demand for skilled construction workers. The next two sessions run 10 weeks from July 29 through Oct. 1.


The program is open to anyone 18 or older. No prior experience is required, and all tools and supplies are provided.

The program is ideal for those who want to find well-paid work quickly and don’t mind working outside, said Leonard Rivera, dean of Continuing Education and Off-Campus Programs.

“This is an opportunity for Coastal Bend residents to take advantage of the industrial growth happening in the area and get a viable career out of it,” Rivera said. “Participants can also have a hand in rebuilding their own community. The homes and buildings they work on will likely be here for future generations to see.”


Those interested can register at the DMC Center for Economic Development, 3209 S. Staples St., or by calling  361-698-1328. Spots are limited.

Classes are held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and participants can choose to attend at either Del Mar College West Campus, Rockport-Fulton High School or Ingleside High School.

During the program, participants will construct a tiny home incorporating the skills they’ve learned.

Courses cover a construction certification, construction math and measurement, power tools, blueprint reading, communication and workplace skills, tools and techniques for carpentry, and framing and general construction.

Participants who have completed the program may be referred to contractors and builders for hiring consideration, Rivera said.

The program is funded by a grant of almost $880,000 from the Rebuild Texas Fund. The project has awarded more than $86 million to regions affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Subsequent sessions are scheduled to run from October through December.

Vicky Camarillo covers education, immigration and other issues in South Texas and the rest of the Lone Star State. Support local journalism with a subscription to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.


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