Local veteran helps train job seekers in construction

- A Houston veteran is trying to get people employed and help fix homes damaged by Harvey, at the same time.

Risheem Eli Muhammad started E.D.S. Technologies to provide job training for veterans, but he expanded to other people who are unemployed so they too can learn valuable construction skills.

Muhammad said, "Let's get people working. Once we get them working, it helps their economic status and they can live meaningful lives."

Larry Berry is just one of 25 people going through the eight day training so he can become certified in skills like insulation installation and fixing drywall.

"I think the people that come out of this class can go out and really help the homeowners get the house back to where it needs to be," said Berry. 

Christopher Pratt is the chief operating officer for E.D.S., and after decades of construction experience, saw the unique construction needs that Harvey's flooding created. So he created the program to get people up to speed.

"There was a unique person that we needed," said Pratt. "Someone that could insulate, drywall, tape and float, and if you came up with that person I knew they'd be highly employable at the end."

While the people currently training aren't all veterans, they are bound by at least one commonality—their homes were damaged during the storm.

Once these trainees are certified, E.D.S will help them look for jobs in construction. One of their trainees has already been picked up by FEMA.

The Urban League is referring potential trainees for the program. Muhammad says the City of Houston and Houston Independent School District are also trying to team up with E.D.S. to connect trainees with homeowners who still need qualified labor.

If you'd like to learn more about the program you can call 713-955-7724 or the Houston Area Urban League at 281-220-6031.

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