CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — Coordinators have launched a free certification program and are looking for students interested in a post-secondary education through Central Texas College in trades such as plumbing and electrician work.
Mickey West Career Assets has combined money and support from several business, education, and workforce entities to cultivate the program, which is aimed at filling the need for local tradesmen in the Highland Lakes.
The first sessions of classes for plumbers are scheduled to begin in March.
“In order for our local businesses to be able to participate in that growth, they really needed more skilled labor,” said project lead Celia Merrill. “A lot of the companies that are using subcontractors right now are not local, and that’s because our local companies are being stretched in their abilities to respond because of the lack of available trained staff.”
To make the program possible, the Texas Workforce Commission and Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. provided matching grant contributions totaling about $68,000.
Marble Falls Independent School District has signed an agreement with CTC for use of the public school location for the program.
“It was a great demonstration of collaboration,” Merrill said. “It’s a fantastic deal for the individual because your tuition is paid.
“For plumbers, that’s over 200 hours of training and certification courses from CTC. Your books, fees, registration is covered,” she added. “When an individual completes the training, there will also be tools we’re providing for the individual.”
Area plumbers and a local electrician are participating in the program through consultation and additional assistance with potential placement of students.
“It’s essentially the first two years of training for a registered apprenticeship,” she said. “That’s ultimately where we’re going with this is to try to move into an employer-sponsored registered sponsorship for each of these trades.”
The two 16-week sessions of plumbing classes will be 6-9 p.m. starting March 7 at the Marble Falls High School building trades facility.
The deadline to fill the remaining slots is March 2.
“We still have spots available and would like to have those full,” Merrill said.
Electrician classes are scheduled to start in June. Registration is pending.
To register for the free plumbing classes, call (830) 385-2601 or (830) 265-8754.