Jeannie Peng-Armao

The Applied Technologies and Trades program at San Jacinto College will begin millwright training this Fall.

For Sal Mellado, who oversees logistics and training at Performance Contractors, Inc., this news can't come soon enough. 

"Millwrights are hard to come by," said Mellado. "A lot of people do not know about this craft. We're at a point that millwrights can pretty much tell you what they want to make. I'll start a millwright at $34 an hour.”

Performance Contractors, Inc., provides construction and maintenance services to the chemical, petrochemical, power, automotive manufacturing, steel, fertilizer, pulp and paper, and refinery industries. The company hires a variety of craft trade employees with millwrights needed for much of the precision work. Millwrights install, dismantle, or move machinery and heavy equipment according to layout plans, blueprints, or other drawings, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They work in a variety of industries like building equipment contractors; pulp, paper, and paperboard mills; commercial and industrial machinery and equipment; sawmills and wood preservation; electric power generation, transmission, and distribution; and motor vehicle manufacturing. 

Mellado already sends workers to the San Jacinto College for welding and pipefitting training. Come August, he'll send many of them for millwright training. 

"Millwright training is our latest offering, and part of our proactive role in keeping people working and advancing their careers, and preparing new people for the industry," said Dr. J.D. Taliaferro, director of Applied Technologies and Trades. "Millwrights work for contractors and do the initial installation of industrial equipment. Plant expansions require many millwrights, so this is why they are in such high demand."

Mellado said he is looking to hire millwrights who hold National Council for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) credentials and work experience. He said a person can start as a millwright helper and train at San Jacinto College simultaneously to gain experience while earning his or her certifications. NCCER certifications are considered the gateway credentials for work in the construction industry. 

The Applied Technologies and Trades program offers a wealth of NCCER courses in the areas from welding and pipefitting to sheet metal and electricity. The program also offers NCCER training in industrial maintenance, a craft trade with skills closely related to that of millwrights.

The industrial maintenance and millwright programs will interact and share resources to produce millwrights for the construction industry and maintenance technicians for the petrochemical industry. Training that is common between the two fields will be further developed into a series of short-term courses exclusively for maintenance technicians already on the job. Last May, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts awarded a $230,000 Jobs and Education for Texans Program grant to San Jacinto College, which helped to fund equipment for both the industrial maintenance and millwright training.

"Many people who have all the training and experience are looking at retirement, and it's important to have people trained to step up and replace them," said Taliaferro. "We offer training to fill those skill gaps."

Grant assistance for course tuition is available for companies and individuals who qualify. An example is the recent Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) $135,838 Skills Development Fund grant that enables San Jacinto College to train 148 new and incumbent workers with DuPont Bayport Plant and PolyOne Corp.

Other grants include the H-1 B Gulf Coast Ready to Work Petrochemical grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, and the TWC small business grant for businesses with one to 99 employees. 

The Applied Technologies and Trades program is operated through San Jacinto College's Continuing and Professional Development division. For more information, call 281-478-3698 or 281-478-3687, or visit

About the Continuing and Professional Development division

This noncredit division of the College provides training for both current and future employees in the professional and technical job sectors, as well as provides participants with open enrollment course options to enhance their lives. Professional and technical training is available through contract training, open enrollment and grant funding. For more information, call 281-476-1838.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.