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State program could help high-school students become plumbers faster

While it isn't available to CCISD students yet, the chairman of the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners said it could eventually be.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Last year's hard freeze shed a light on the shortage of plumbers across Texas -- including here in Nueces county.

A new program introduced by the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners will help, not only with a shortage of plumbers, but with high-school students who may want to get to work right after graduation.

The two-and-a-half-year program created by the Texas Legislature and the board gives high-school students a fast track to a limited plumbers’ license, which will allow them to work in residential homes only.

"College is not the right thing for every college student that's in high school,” said Texas Board of Plumbing Examiners Chairman Frank Denton. “For whatever reason, some choose not to go to college, so this is an opportunity for a student to take some intense and focused training in a building trade, plumbing, and immediately upon graduation get a tradesman license.”

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He said this kind of program already is giving many students across the state a chance at an immediate career with a livable wage.

“I'm told that a tradesman holding a license can earn anywhere from $50,000-$55,000 a year right out of school," he said.

Currently, CCISD is not involved in the program, but that could change.

Denton said there are 446 licensed plumbers in Nueces county, and 114 are business owners.

While Del Mar College offers some basic skills training in plumbing and contracting, there are currently no high school programs like this in the area.

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