Participants in The Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program class in Rockport are, top photo, back row, from left, Anthony Avila, Leslie Covey, Joel Garza, Robert Serrano, David Terrell, Kade Riggs, and Jacob Holiday; middle row, from left, Instructor Rene Cortinas, Reagan Reynolds, Alvin Mason, Lisa Schaar, Diana Garcia, Jesse Cisneros, and Inocente Perez; and front row, from left, Elijah Pope, Dennis Ybanez, and Instructor Billy Fricks.

About 70 students received certificates Thursday, Sept. 26 after completing a free, 10-week program funded through The Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program, which is designed to train participants to become qualified carpenters and help Coastal Bend communities rebound from Hurricane Harvey.

The Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program is made possible by an $879,000 grant from the Rebuild Texas Fund (RTF), a collaborative project of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the OneStar Foundation.

The program began in the spring, with classes offered in Rockport, Ingleside, and at the Del Mar College (DMC) West Campus.

Students received Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification. All of the participants in the program’s first session, which concluded in July, were offered jobs.

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 go to

Guests at a celebration last week were invited to participate in some of the skills demonstrations at roofing and sawing stations set up at the college’s campus. Students also showcased a tiny home they built as a team that incorporates their new skills.

“Based on the community’s response, this program could likely be sustained for years to come with continued funding,” said DMC Vice President of Workforce Development and Strategic Initiatives Lenora Keas.

“The Rebuild Texas Fund is extremely proud of this program and the work that (has been) accomplished,” said RTF Program Officer Cristina Cornejo. “On behalf of the RTF and our 33,000 individual donors, I’d like to say, ‘Thank you.’”

DMC Project Manager for Rebuild Texas Arnold Mendez said, “Our graduates gain new, marketable skills and our communities have more skilled labor to help rebuild.

“We are literally changing lives, families and communities. We couldn’t do this without RTF’s support.”

The RTF’s August 2019 Progress Report includes the following statistics:

• More than 1.1 million people directly served by funded projects

• $100 million donated by more than 33,000 donors at work in our communities

• 100 percent of donations invested in impacted areas

• $63.6 million in additional funding unlocked by fund involvement

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