Special to The Dallas Examiner
The construction skills masonry course at the Richland College South Dallas Training Center is helping graduates build a better future. Offering a seven-week, non-credit, workforce training course, it was designed for quick completion, industry certification and has a work experience component for immediate employment success.
Last month, the SDTC graduated its first class of students from this program, at the end of which they literally built walls.
“Masonry has always been a part of my life,” said Javiar Arias, lead instructor for the construction skills masonry class. “The masonry trade comes from my great, great grandfather, and I love teaching it to others. This class will help students not only build a career, but also be a better person in life. Our first masonry class literally showed us how one person can build something with his or her own hands.”
This training program is a mixture of classroom work and hands-on experience, and it takes place off-site at A-Star Stucco and Masonry and the Construction Compliance Training Center of the Hispanic Contractors Association de Tejas.
“I took this class to make myself a better worker and to understand the structural mentality of not only masons, but also engineers and architects,” said Kristopher DeAlva, a recent masonry student. “The part I enjoyed most was learning how to lay a concrete masonry unit and brick. The class helped me understand structures in building as well as architectural design. It opened a new perspective in the path I want to follow in the future to create my own buildings and manage a small business.”
This masonry class prepares students for a job as construction masonry laborers or bricklayers after they complete the program. This was the first time this class has been offered at SDTC, which opened in the spring of 2017.
“I took this class because I wanted a career in something that my family had experience in; I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” said Juan Aguilar, another masonry student. “It was so informative, and the people were great and very well-educated. Not one question went unanswered, and I have never felt more comfortable learning something new. This class helped me further my education on safety and the importance of small details when it comes to construction. I hope to one day have a small business of my own.”
At the end of the course, students showcased their newly acquired masonry skills to construction employers by building a wall unit with a print set, mixing all materials and completing the wall in a set time frame.
“I enjoyed teaching this class,” said Hector Dechner, the instructor for construction math and blueprint reading. “It was successful. The students met all the learning objectives and progressed in basic masonry knowledge. This class will open many opportunities in the construction field for our graduates. It also taught them knowledge and skills necessary for many different job opportunities.”
The SDTC was created through a partnership between Richland College Garland Campus and the Innercity Community Development Corporation in South Dallas Fair Park. It is a workforce training center that offers non-credit, short-term employment training programs in areas including office/accounting skills, construction skills and industrial logistics. Tuition, books and classroom materials are free to those who qualify.
For more information, visit richlandcollege.edu/aboutrlc/sdtc.