The students have been putting on paper what they've learned so far in their trade-related training program. The hands-on work is supposed to begin soon but nearly two weeks ago, someone stole most of the hand tools from their storage facility in Pittsburg.
Merle Craft is the manager of the program called "Future Build." It's a training program for people in underserved communities in East Contra Costa County. "I think it's just the idea that they can take away something and make a quick profit on it," she said.
Whoever did this must have planned it well in advance because they cut through a chain link fence, walked towards the building, then down a corridor where they found a window that they broke it to gain access.
"So they came in here and just ransacked everything, popping the locks and going through to see what's in," Craft said.
The non-profit that runs the program is called "Open Opportunities." The insurance doesn't begin to pay for what they lost -- about $7,000 worth of tools. "If they were to cancel the program, that's affecting my career, my future, you know," student Christian Norris said. The organization is hoping to get donations from trade unions or hoping the public will replace the tools.
The program helps train, then place people in good jobs, instead of making minimum wage. "Learn the trades and try to find a career, something that's life-long, that you could stay with, get good benefits," student Marcos Cardoza said.
Craft says they stole more than tools. "An opportunity, because with these kids, this is an opportunity for them to change their lives around," Craft said.
Donations to help the program replace the stolen tools can be sent to:
329 Railroad Avenue
Pittsburg, CA 94565