Gerardo Torres left everything he knew in Mexico for the chance to be closer to his children and grandchildren in Brownsville, Texas.
Although nearing retirement at the age of 60, the once professor at a Mexico university, decided to become a student himself at Texas Southmost College.
“I’m still strong and have a lot to offer and give,” he said. “And by the grace of God and the support I’m getting at TSC, I will be able to start a new career soon. I’m going to become a roofer.”
Far from the classroom that Torres is used to, he has been training through TSC’s Commercial Roofing Pre-apprentice program on a full scholarship to install, repair and maintain roofs.
Torres is one of a handful of students who received a full scholarship to the Commercial Roofing Pre-apprentice program, provided to those enrolled in the most recent cohort by the TSC Foundation.
“This type of opportunity does not exist in Mexico,” said Torres. “I’m grateful to TSC for giving me, and all of us in this program, the chance to learn a new skill and work toward a new goal. This isn’t something TSC had to do, so I really appreciate it.”
With roofing being a brand-new subject for Torres, he has immersed himself in the hands-on training provided by the program.
“The program has been excellent,” he said while completing a roofing project. “We are learning on equipment we will find in the field, we are learning processes that are popular in industry and our instructors are experienced trainers. What more could we want?”
In addition to the hands-on training experienced by Torres and his peers, the program also offers a 100% job placement rate with industry partner Schwickert’s Tecta America.
Schwickert’s Tecta America is the leading Midwest residential and commercial roofing contractor with locations in Minnesota and Kansas.
The curriculum for the program was crafted and designed in a collaboration with TSC and Schwickert’s Tecta America to fill the demand for highly skilled and highly trained roofing professionals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the need for roofers is expected to grow 2% by 2029 and continue growing as the need to replace workers that retire increases.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also names Minnesota as one of the states with the highest paid roofers.
Once hired with Schwickert’s Tecta America, TSC’s roofing graduates will earn an entry-level pay of $18-20 an hour, a full benefits packages, stipends and relocation assistance.
“Although I came to Brownsville to be closer to my family, I am considering making the move to work with Schwickert’s,” said Torres. “I have to keep in mind what’s best for my family and this job opportunity is going to allow me to better support and care for them.”
Torres’ ultimate goal is to return to Brownsville and open a roofing company to give back to the local economy, help his community and leave a legacy for his family.
For more information about TSC’s Commercial Roofing Pre-apprentice program or to register for the next class in April 2022, visit tsc.edu/wtce or call (956) 295-3724.