Texas Southmost College and Schwickert’s Tecta America will be offering a new Roofing Pre-Apprentice Program beginning April 5. The program is the first of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley, creating jobs and opportunities.
“What TSC and Schwickert’s have created through this partnership is about to change lives,” said Joseph Fleishman, TSC associate vice president of workforce development. “This program is a win-win for everyone involved and we are excited to introduce everything it has to offer to our community.”
In fact, the 80-hour, two-week program will be free for the first 20 qualified people who register for the course. In addition, students who successfully complete this course will receive an apprentice by Schwickert’s Tecta America at one of its three locations immediately upon completion. Pay ranges from $18 to $20 an hour and includes a complete benefits package. After three years of employment with Schwickert’s, the TSC graduate will become a roofing journeyman. This means on many projects, their pay will double.
Creating a Curriculum
“We know South Texas has a number of solid workers who will be a great fit for our company,” said Leslie Thomas, Schwickert’s Tecta America Human Resources manager and Brownsville native. “When Dr. Fleishman reached out to us late last year about this partnership, we knew we had to jump at the opportunity. We’re excited to be working with TSC on this initiative and getting people into great paying jobs.”
Schwickert’s took the lead on designing the curriculum. It also set in place workstations, tools and equipment from the company’s long-time roofing systems vendor Firestone. The Midwest roofing company will also provide the program’s instructors.
Schwickert’s Tecta American Quality Assurance Field Trainer Ray Oman will be the lead instructor for the roofing Pre-Apprentice Program. He is one of only 15 qualified trainers and assessors through the National Roofing Contractors Association Nationwide.
“The hands-on training this program provides, and the skill set students will gain sets them up for success,” said Oman. “By the end of the program they will have the foundation they need to apply the roofing systems they’ve learned, with plenty of room and opportunity to grow with Schwickert’s.”
A Future Partnership Expansion
Parties from both TSC and Schwickert’s said the partnership has worked well because of the enthusiasm and optimism on both sides. They also look forward to expanding the partnership.
“I see this partnership growing and moving beyond roofing,” said Thomas. “It is the enthusiasm and optimism that TSC has shown that will allow this course to succeed. And when it does, we hope to expand and touch on other industries such as electrical, plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning to provide even more jobs to the people of the RGV.”
Fleishman added, “It’s always wonderful when you find a partnership that aligns with your mission and goals of providing training and jobs for the people in your community. We’re excited for the opportunity and to see where it leads.”
TSC’s Roofing Pre-Apprentice Program will be held twice a year. It will offer scholarships to those that qualify and a 100-percent job placement rate to those that successfully complete the program.