CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As construction finishes up at the Workforce Training Building on Del Mar College's West Campus, the future of job training begins.
Gulf Coast Growth Ventures donated $1.5 million to Del Mar College in hopes that students will learn in-demand trades, especially those in the oil field. Most of the money will provide funding for hands-on technology inside of the building.
"Stuff starts to click in your brain about how you were just learning about the valve in class, and you're getting out there and you're actually able to touch it and feel how it feels when you turn it," student Gary Tschoepe said.
Process Technology Professor Denise Rector said one of the rooms in the new building will have equipment similar to what is actually on job sites. She called the donation "tremendous."
"I don't think anything compares to hands-on because a lot of people are visual learners," Rector said. "They need to get their hands on it in order to remember it and repeat it."
During the check presentation Thursday, professionals and students commented how life-changing this training equipment will be.
"You could take everything you learn here and once you get out there, all them little gears in your little brain are going to start clicking and turning and it feels so empowered," Tschoepe said.
Tschoepe shared his harrowing story in front of the crowd. Just years ago he was laid off from his job. He was forced to start from square one by going back to school in process technology, all while supporting his family and working full-time.
Now he's about to graduate from the program.
"Just going to keep climbing that ladder and go all the way to the top," Tschoepe said.
Paul Guilfoile with Gulf Coast Growth Ventures and Exxon Mobile said stories like Tschoepe's are the reason they make generous donations to help future generations of process technology workers.
"It really touched my heart to hear the stories of how these kind of jobs are affecting people's lives. Really, what we're trying to do is build a workforce here that's capable of meeting the demands of the future and the technologies that are coming," Guilfoile said.
The new building on Del Mar College's West Campus is expected to be done within a couple of months along with the new technology to better train future workers.