PITTSBURG -- Future Build, which teaches construction and green building skills to East Contra Costa residents, is seeking donations of power tools following a burglary last month at its training site.

"It was most of our power tools," Merl Craft, project manager for Pittsburg-based Future Build, said of the Jan. 28 break-in at the program's classroom and storage facility. More than $7,000 worth of power tools, along with other tools used to train students to install solar panels, were taken, she said.

The 22 students enrolled in the four-month-long, pre-apprenticeship program that was launched at the beginning of the year will soon need those missing tools when they start the hands-on construction component in carpentry in March.

"We are hoping to get some help, some donations to some way replace those tools before starting the carpentry," Craft said.

And while there is insurance, it does not cover the entire loss, she said.

Gil Construction & Associates has already stepped up to the plate, and a Danville couple made a donation, she said.

"We felt so awful about what happened. It's like somebody breaking into your house," said Christine Gil, who along with her husband, Ron, owns Gil Construction, a general contractor based in Brisbane.

"We know a lot of suppliers and a lot of vendors and are going to make sure they are getting the things that they need," she said.

Not only that, but Gil Construction is willing to hire a couple of the program's graduates.


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"When the guys finish the program and are ready to get out there, we would like to offer some positions," she said.

Future Build receives funding and support from the Pittsburg Power Co., the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County, Pittsburg Adult Education Center, Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council and the Northern California Laborers Training Center. The job-training program, which started in 2011 and is managed by Open Opportunities Inc., focuses on hands-on learning in construction, maintenance, green building and solar power skills.

"The program is great -- they are helping us every way they can. They teach us a little bit of everything so we can find a trade," said Khalil Guerra, a 29-year-old Bay Point resident.

He said while it's "horrible" that the burglary occurred, "We just have to keep on working and doing what we have to do."

As they have in past years, students will also participate in a community benefit project. This time around, projects include putting in new cabinets and flooring in the environmental center, a city-owned facility behind Small World Park, replacing fencing along a stretch of West Leland Road and installing a dugout at the baseball field at Central Park.

Those who are interested in making a donation to Future Build may call 925-522-2970.

Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her at Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.