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Quehanna Boot Camp Offers New Masonry Vocational Program

January 31, 2020 12:00 AM
By: Melissa Billotte

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Quehanna Boot Camp began a masonry vocational program in June 2019. This 200‑hour program provides students with the skills needed to enter the workforce as an entry-level mason and is open to both Boot Camp and State Intermediate Punishment (SIP) inmates.

The course is comprised of six modules:  1) Intro to Masonry; 2) Masonry Tools and Equipment; 3) Measurements, Drawings, and Specifications; 4) Mortar; 5) Masonry Units and Installation Techniques; and 6) Masonry Safety.

Once all classroom requirements are met, it is time for hands-on application.

The first step is to learn to mix the mortar:

An inmate mixes mortar An inmate mixes mortar

Then learn to apply the mortar, install concrete masonry units, and place the brick throughout a series of different projects:

Inmates apply mortar and bricks Inmates apply mortar and bricks

Once the basics are mastered, the next step is to review the specifications and work on the final project to complete the course:

An inmate looks at the work plans An inmate builds a wall

Here is an example of the finished project:

A completed masonry wall

After the project has been evaluated and approved by the instructor, everything is torn down, bricks and blocks are cleaned, mortar is screened down to a fine consistency, and the cycle begins again:

Inmates take down their project Inmates take down their project

The pride these inmates take in learning this skill is palpable when you observe a group.

Inmates work on a masonry project

Once an inmate passes the final exam, they assist others who are just beginning or those who may be struggling.

Since June 2019, 12 inmates have successfully completed the program. Building Trades Teacher M. McCullough does a fantastic job keeping everyone on task and providing every opportunity to his students. He has arranged for a representative from an outside company to speak to his class about employment opportunities. A recent Boot Camp graduate contacted the facility to advise that he was able to secure an entry-level mason position with the certification he received while at QBC.

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