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Carpentry students share poignant stories at DMC’s Rebuild Texas celebration

Article by: Michael Bratten

A little over two years after Hurricane Harvey made their Aransas Pass home uninhabitable, Lisa Schaar and her husband moved into their new home on Sept. 13.

For the past two years, we’ve been putting our lives back together. I know how it feels to receive help. Now I’m able to offer help to the community that helped me.
Lisa Schaar, student, Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program

Schaar is one of about 70 students who will receive certificates tomorrow after completing the free, 10-week program, which is designed to train participants to become qualified carpenters and help Coastal Bend communities rebound from Hurricane Harvey. The program began in the spring, with classes offered in Rockport, Ingleside and at DMC’s West Campus.

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


After Hurricane Harvey damaged her home, Schaar said she and her husband “hopped around between San Antonio and Aransas Pass, and some nights we slept in our truck.”

They also stayed with a neighbor and were eventually able to live in some space on their home’s back porch.

“I felt like the ordeal was going to last forever,” Schaar said.

Besides hearing students’ stories, guests at today’s celebration were invited to participate in some of the skills demonstrations at roofing and sawing stations set up for the event. Students also showcased a tiny home they built as a team that incorporates their new skills.

My goal is to get into residential homebuilding, and this class has prepared me for that. Hopefully, within three or four years, I can become a journeyman and, eventually, a contractor with my own crew.
Jhon Chacin, student, Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program

Upon completion, students receive Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification and may be referred to contractors and builders for hiring consideration. All of the participants in the program’s first session, which concluded in July, were offered jobs.

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

The Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program is made possible by an $879,000 grant from the Rebuild Texas Fund, a collaborative project of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the OneStar Foundation. According to the organization’s website, the Rebuild Texas Fund was launched to raise and deploy $100 million to communities devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

“The Rebuild Texas Fund is extremely proud of this program and the work that you’ve been able to accomplish,” said Cristina Cornejo, Rebuild Texas Fund program officer, at today’s event. “On behalf of the Rebuild Texas Fund and our 33,000 individual donors, I’d like to say, ‘Thank you.’”

The Rebuild Texas Fund August 2019 Progress Report includes the following statistics:

  • Over 1.1 million people directly served by funded projects
  • 212 organizations at work rebuilding lives and communities
  • $100 million donated by over 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

To see the complete report, go to https://www.rebuildtx.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/rebuild-texas-fund-two-years.pdf.


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 Rebuild Texas Fund’s support.
Arnold Mendez, DMC project manager for Rebuild Texas
About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.