20:04 PM

DMC Named 2020 Governor’s Volunteer Award Recipient for Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program

Continuing Education program recognized for putting Coastal Bend lives back together after Hurricane Harvey by training residents for workforce and volunteer work

Article by Melinda Eddleman

(The news release from Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott and the OneStar Foundation is avilable in PDF format in the upper right-hand corner of this release page.)

Hurricane Harvey’s destruction across South Texas’ Coastal Bend region was devastating in August 2017. The next step was to rebuild.

Del Mar College’s (DMC) Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program, which was made possible by a grant from the Rebuild Texas Fund initiated by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the OneStar Foundation, became one answer to change lives and communities impacted by the storm’s wrath.

The program and its results have not gone unnoticed.

Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott and the OneStar Foundation announced today, Nov. 6, the 2020 Governor’s Volunteer Awards. Del Mar College is named as the recipient of the 2020 Higher Education Community Impact–Community College Award, one of nine categories given each year.


Del Mar College is honored to receive this award from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Frist Lady Cecilia Abbott. From the day we put the Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program into action in 2019, it has provided valuable job skills at no cost to hundreds of students, who have in turn helped rebuild the South Texas communities that were devastated by Hurricane Harvey. This is a program with a heart, and we are proud to have our name attached to it.
Dr. Mark Escamilla, Del Mar College President and CEO

The award “recognizes a community college that supports and encourages civic engagement and volunteering as a core value” according to the OneStar Foundation website. Among award criteria, the College’s Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program identified central community needs resulting from Harvey and developed curriculum that addresses workforce training and service learning for participants.


The Governor's Volunteer Award is a direct reflection of the College’s commitment to our educational mission that enables students’ successful career advancement and supports the lifelong learning needs of the communities we serve. Our Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program has transformed graduates’ lives by teaching them skills that go far beyond the realm of carpentry, including teamwork, communication, work ethics, safety and confidence.
Dr. Leonard Rivera, Dean of Continuing Education and Off-Campus Programs

Since beginning the program in spring 2019, the training program’s impact includes the following:

  • to date, 264 students have benefitted from the program with 225 participants completing all training,
  • 18 cohorts (classes) will have completed the program by Dec. 17, 2020,
  • students now working or volunteering their skills in the Coastal Bend is 61%,
  • program graduates’ average hourly wage is $16.50,
  • currently, 53 students are in the program, seeking jobs and waiting to hear from employers.

Initially funded by an $879,000 Rebuild Texas Fund grant, the 10-week program has been offered at no cost in Corpus Christi, Ingleside, Refugio, Rockport and Sinton. Students receive instruction covering how to read blueprints, use construction tools and, ultimately, build a tiny home to demonstrate their construction aptitude. They also receive Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification and are referred to local contractors to help rebuild the Coastal Bend.

Of the program, DMC Rebuild Texas project manager Arnold Mendez, said that the Rebuild Texas Carpentry Skills Training Program has not only prepared students to become qualified carpenters and construction workers for today’s ​competitive job market but also has trained student volunteers and faith-based workers to become more effective leaders in their efforts to alleviate recovery needs among their communities.

“Our students wanted to help with rebuilding efforts in South Texas that still existed after Hurricane Harvey, and many of these volunteers had the heart but not the skills,” Mendez said. “Our carpentry training has taught them the skills to restore the damage, and many of our graduates have become leaders in the construction trades and made better their lives and the lives of their families.”


I feel immense personal satisfaction knowing that our program has changed lives, and people have received opportunities they will carry with them the rest of their lives.
Arnold Mendez, DMC Rebuild Texas Project Manager
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.