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Del Mar’s Free Carpentry Classes to Expand in Corpus Christi

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn says a few words before donning a hard hat and picking up a hammer in a carpentry class at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. Del Mar is expanding the classes in January to train even more workers to help rebuild the Coastal Bend after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Courtesy photo

A free 10-week carpentry program at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi got a recent visit from U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. As Del Mar geared up to start its new semester, including the Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program, Cornyn donned a hard hat and toured the facilities, meeting with faculty, staff, and students.

“As we look at this program, we need to think about how we can keep it growing,” said Cornyn, who toured the Corpus Christi location. Classes are also available in Ingleside and Rockport. “I'm confident the need for skilled labor is not going to go away.”

Money from the Rebuild Texas Fund pays the bills for the tuition-free classes. The Rebuild Texas Fund involves collaboration from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the OneStar Foundation. Classes are designed to train carpenters to help rebuild the area, which is still recovering two years after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. A shortage of trained workers has hampered rebuilding efforts.

Two additional locations in Sinton and Refugio will be added in January 2020 to the three existing classes, which are filled for the current semester. More than 400 are on the waiting list.

Classes include instruction on how to use construction tools and read blueprints. The main class project is to build a mini-home. Students also receive Occupational Safety and Health Administration certification before Del Mar refers them to local contractors for hiring.

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