Acme Brick Company Backs New Masonry Schools in Texas

Fort Worth, Texas, Oct. 21, 2015 - Acme Brick Company is providing funding for the new Brick Block Masonry Certificate course offered through the University of Texas at Arlington, at facilities in Grand Prairie and Houston.

Acme Brick has donated $50,000 to start the schools. Additionally Acme has offered to match another $10,000 for scholarships that the university hopes to raise from other businesses and corporations.  Contractors and manufacturers from across the state, along with the Waco-based Texas Masonry Council, have donated money and in-kind contributions including Acme’s investment totaling more than $225,000 to kick-start the schools

The Brick & Block Masonry Certificate course is the first comprehensive, hands-on training program to be offered by the new UT Arlington Trade Education Center. The Brick & Block Certificate course consists of a single, 8-week course that runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Courses are now underway.  Brick & Block courses will run in both Houston and Grand Prairie simultaneously and are taught by bilingual instructors.

The curriculum was developed with the assistance of the Texas Masonry Council to address a critical shortage of skilled masons that now exists in the industry.  With only 11 students per course, masons-in-training will receive personalized help with course tasks and projects from a mason instructor with years of contracting, construction, and teaching experience.

In recent years the lack of skilled masons and other builder trades workers has become an acute problem as these workers have left the construction industry during the severe housing downturn.  Dennis Knautz, President and CEO of Acme Brick Company said, “as the industry leader, Acme believed it needed to help initiate a program to provide the training necessary to move interested job-seekers into a career in masonry.  The staff at UT Arlington has been extraordinarily receptive, helpful and creative in putting together this program that should help ease our industry’s shortage of masons by developing candidates who will be qualified for these good-paying jobs.  We are excited about partnering with UTA, and we hope others in our industry will follow our lead and help support this effort.”

Students who successfully complete the program will graduate as Level 1 Masons accredited by the Texas Masonry Council.  “Graduates of this program should have no trouble finding a number of companies eager to put their skills to work”, said Knautz.  The TMC has also collected letters from industry members and potential employers confirming starting wages of $14 -$16 per hour for students that complete the course.

\Acme Brick Company, founded in 1891, is the nation’s largest brickmaker. Acme owns 26 brick plants and has 70 company-owned sales offices across 15 states, plus a nationwide network of independent distributors. Other Acme operations include American Tile & Stone; Featherlite Building Products; Innovative Building Products; and Texas Quarries. Acme Brick Company has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. since 2000.  For more information visit www.brick.com .

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