Industrial Trades Center Houses New Classes

by Ronnie Zamora/LFCISD

The City of Los Fresnos Fire Station has been converted into the Los Fresnos CISD Industrial Trades Center, where students are taking electrical and architecture classes.

The new Los Fresnos Fire Station is located on Ocean Boulevard just east of the Rodeo Grounds. A new City Hall is under construction adjacent to the Fire Station.

Through a partnership with the Los Fresnos Community Development Corporation, the facility at 233 N. Alamo St. is the new home for students taking Electrical Technology I and Principles of Architecture courses.

“The City of Los Fresnos has been very accommodating to the school district,” Los Fresnos CISD Director of Career and Technology Program said. “Because of this great partnership with them, we are now able to offer opportunities for students that we were not able to do in the past.”

Emiliana Escobar, who has 14 years experience as an electrician and construction, is the new teacher. She has students who attend the 2.5-hour Electrical Tech class during the mornings, and students in two 90-minute Principles of Architecture courses.

“We have developed the curriculum and modify it as we go,” Escobar said. “They get a feel for everything. The goal for the students in the electrical program is to get the core curriculum certification with NCCER and Electrical Trades Level One.

The certification with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCEER) offers certification in numerous fields including electrical.

Escobar has been around construction work all of her life. “I grew up in the field,” she said. “My dad was a carpenter. He wanted me to an architect.”

She worked as a secretary at Global Electrical and moved to the Estimating Department at when her employer found out that she had learned the software program AutoCad in high school.

Escobar has worked at several electrical companies in the area. She has been part of the contractor teams for projects at UTRGV and dozens of retail stores, hotels and other buildings.

Escobar continued to work in the field while taking classes at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, she earned her bachelor’s degree in bilingual education. She is working on a master’s degree in Educational Technology at UTRGV.

The courses are Dual Enrollment through a partnership with Texas Southmost College, where Escobar is an Adjunct Instructor. Last year, electrical courses were taught at TSC.

The Principles of Architecture course includes electrical and construction trades. Students also aim to received 30 hours of credit through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for safety on the job site.

“I want them to go out with as many certifications that are needed in the field and to get an apprenticeship license,” Escobar said. “They would be ready to go out in the field with job-ready, with their apprenticeship license, their OSHA 30 and NCEER core. They could get a job in the Valley for $19 an hour.”

The electrical students are also getting paid for 10 hours a week of work outside the classroom through a grant by the Texas Workforce Commission. Their current project three days a week in the remodeling of portable buildings that will be used by the Los Fresnos CISD Police Department.

Josue Campos, the Lead Electrician for the Los Fresnos CISD Maintenance Department, has been assisting in the training of the students.

“I am a hands-on person,” Escobar said. “I know that a woman in a man’s world but It doesn’t bother me. I am just a woman doing work people expect men to do.”

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