TSC’s industrial scaffolding program helps students ‘climb higher’

Cardiel took the college course, completed it, earned a credential—and now has a meaningful job. He’s working on a project out of state for Brand Safeway.

It’s a life-changer, Cardiel believes.

“I’m really excited,” Cardiel said. “This gives me the ability to do great things for my family. I’ll be able to have a good future and be a better person, better father, better husband. This is an accomplishment I made not by myself, but with the help of my instructor.”

Cardiel is one of the first graduates of TSC’s Industrial Scaffolding Committee Basic Access program, the only one in Texas, an 80-hour, two-week program that prepares entry-level workers for the scaffolding industry.

Students like Cardiel earn a national credential which is recognized by various scaffold builders throughout the nation. The credential is the entry point for employment—and a first-step toward a meaningful career.

“Texas Southmost College, the industry, and the students are excited about the new program,” said Jesús Roberto Rodríguez, TSC president. “TSC’s industrial scaffolding program has a 100 percent pass rate and employment rate. At the conclusion of the two-week course, 100 percent of our students have tested, earned the national credential, and are employed.”

During the program, students learned the basics of industrial scaffolding: scaffolding components, how to set up a scaffold base, how to seal the jacks, level the scaffolding and continue building it up.

Jaime Guerra, regional staffing manager for BrandSafway, visited the class and was impressed.

“Our company focuses on hiring projects for oil refineries,” Guerra said. “We have 30,000 employees around the United States and the world serving the industry. Right now, the demand for scaffold builders is exploding.”

There is plenty of work, Guerra points out, because of what’s happening in the petrochemical industry: “new construction, outages, turnarounds where refineries have to shut down to do repairs or maintenance. In order for welders, pipefitters, electricians to work, everybody needs access, and that’s where the scaffold builders come in.”

“The partnership between the industrial scaffolding builders and TSC is a win for all,” TSC Board of Trustees Chair Adela Garza said. “The industry get well-trained workers; TSC fulfills its mission; and students get a skill that translates into meaningful jobs.”

Guerra called a company representative after observing TSC’s industrial scaffolding program. By the following week, Cardiel and his classmates were all employed.

And making a good wage.

“Pay starts between $14 an hour and goes up to $28-to-$30 per hour, depending on the project contract and job location,” Guerra said. “As scaffolding builders learn, they see their pay increase. It is an easy way to begin a career.”

“Before, I really didn’t think I could do it,” Cardiel admits. “But if you try, listen and pay attention, you can accomplish it, no matter how hard it seems. I learned to never give up. Always keep going forward, even if you think you’re not going to make it. If you try, if you put in the dedication and effort, good things are bound to happen.”

Classes begin monthly and scholarships are available to qualified students. To learn more about TSC’s Industrial Scaffolding Committee Basic Access program, call (956) 295-3724.