"The program that I worked with, SER, I mean they made me feel so comfortable and it was just a really nice experience, you know, and it just encourages me more to keep further with it."
A single mother and a self-employed construction worker, Zavala says the training she received helped her earn certifications that make her more valuable on the job market.
"If I can get certifications and qualifications that, you know, I have certificates for, then a company might look at my resume and say, hey, this girl's been doing some really good stuff."
SER Jobs for Progress is one of the programs taking part in Workready Houston, an effort by Houston's METRO Transit Authority to train potential employees for upcoming projects. The classes are free, and cover construction basics, says SER Jobs for Progress Executive Director Nory Angel.
"We do blueprint reading, the math skills necessary. We actually do a lot of hands-on construction, power tools, safety, and also workplace-type behavior."
Officials say there is no guarantee of a job once someone completes the program, but they will offer job placement assistance, and they're hoping many of the participants will be able to work on Houston's Light Rail project.