Students build walls, complete district’s first masonry program

Richland’s South Dallas Training Center (SDTC) graduated its first class of students late last year. As the first masonry training program offered, the students literally built walls.

The course consisted of a seven-week, non-credit workforce training program designed for quick completion, industry certification and is noted for immediate employment success.

Javiar Arias, lead instructor for the construction skills masonry class, said, “Masonry has always been a part of my life. Our first masonry class literally showed us how one person can build something with his or her own hands.”

The program combines classroom work and hands-on experience. It takes place at A-Star Stucco and Masonry and the Construction Compliance Training Center of the Hispanic Contractors Association de Tejas.

“I took this class to make myself a better worker and to understand the structural mentality of not only masons, but also engineers and architects,” said Kristopher DeAlva, a recent masonry student. “The part I enjoyed most was learning how to lay a concrete masonry unit and brick.  The class helped me understand structures in building as well as architectural design.  It opened a new perspective in the path I want to follow in the future to create my own buildings and manage a small business.”

The masonry class prepares students for jobs as construction masonry laborers or bricklayers once they complete the program. It was the first time this particular class has been offered at SDTC, which opened in the spring of 2017.

Another masonry student, Juan Aguilar, said, “I took this class because I wanted a career in something that my family had experience in. I wanted to follow in their footsteps.”

Aguilar added that the course was informative, the people were great to work with and very well-educated.

“Not one question went unanswered, and I have never felt more comfortable learning something new,” he said.  “This class helped me further my education on safety and the importance of small details when it comes to construction. I hope to one day have a small business of my own.”

When the course ended, students showcased their newly acquired masonry skills to construction employers by building a wall unit with a print set, mixing all materials and completing the wall in a set

Hector Dechner, instructor for construction math and blueprint reaching, said, “I enjoyed teaching this class. It was successful. The students met all the learning objectives and progressed in basic masonry knowledge.”

Dechner also said this class will open many opportunities in the construction field for our graduates.  It also taught them knowledge and skills necessary for many different job opportunities.

The SDTC was created through a partnership between the Richland College Garland campus and the inner-city Community Development Corporation in South Dallas Fair Park.  It is a workforce training center that offers noncredit, short-term employment training programs in such areas as office/accounting, construction skills and industrial logistics.  Tuition, books and classroom materials are free to those who quality.

For more information about the South Dallas Training Center, go to