College of the Mainland’s First Graduating Cohort of the Mitchell Chuoke Jr. Plumbing Program Stands with Their Certificates
College of the Mainland’s First Graduating Cohort of the Mitchell Chuoke Jr. Plumbing Program Stands with Their Certificates.

History was made as College of the Mainland (COM) celebrated its first graduating cohort of the Mitchell Chuoke Jr. plumbing program, consisting of nine students total. This tuition-free 10-week (80-hour) certificate program equips individuals with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to pursue an industry apprenticeship. In collaboration with Local Union 68, the program will cover residential and commercial aspects of the plumbing trade with an emphasis on safety.

“I was looking for an opportunity to better myself,” said Anthony Millsap, Mitchell Chuoke Jr. plumbing program graduate. “I came across the COM Plumbing program, and I took a chance with it.”

Honoring the life and legacy of Mitchell Chuoke Jr., the program recognizes the family’s longstanding commitment to the plumbing industry and prepares students with the essential skills and training needed to ensure that the next generation of plumbers are ready to fulfill the jobs of tomorrow.

“The program was excellent, and the professor was very knowledgeable,” said Anthony. “I found a job right away, and I love it.”

Two pathways are available for consideration for students pursuing a career in the plumbing industry. Both union and non-union plumbing apprenticeships offer a combination of classroom instruction, on-the-job training, and 4,000 hours of required field experience to sit for the Tradesman Exam with the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners. The 80-hour pre-apprenticeship training from COM will provide an advantage for all applicants.

With an endowment pledge of $1.3 million to offer the program tuition-free, nearly half of this amount has already been raised. Thanks to the generous donations from community supporters Charles and Mary Ellen Doyle, Matt and Debra Doyle, the Patrick F. Doyle family, the Lawrence J. Del Papa family, Joe and Ellen Chuoke, Texas First Bank, Beau and Erin Yarbrough, and others, the program is set to be endowed, guaranteeing it will remain tuition-free for students.

There is a tremendous need for skilled plumbers. Texas Workforce Solutions has identified plumbing as a "fast growth" profession. It projects that by 2028 the Gulf Coast region will need more than 15,000 plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters to support the demand in the growing region. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), plumbers across the Houston area earn a median annual hourly wage of $27.08.