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Mark Padilla, Executive Director 

Santiago Trade School 

Mobile: (323) 742-2990 




Historic Month at the New Santiago Trade School! 

The New and Innovative Trade School in Orange County Features a Two-Year Study Program in the Building Trades—Plus Philosophy, Theology, and the Great Books! 

SILVERADO, ORANGE COUNTY, CALIF., Sept. 5, 2023 — History was made on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at Orange County’s new and innovative Santiago Trade School. The first cohort of students began their training this month at the two-year residential school of formation. This very unique program features creative approaches to learning the building trades, mechanical technology, and agricultural sciences. What’s unique? The program includes a robust formation experience in philosophy and theology. 

Located at Santiago Retreat Center in Orange County, Calif., the Santiago Trade School is designed for men 19 and older. Its proximity to all communities of the Southland makes it very attractive for those who are called to careers in the building trades and service trades—a segment of the economy which is currently underserved and offers a living wage to support a Catholic family. 

Mark Edward Padilla, executive director of Santiago Trade School, is a longtime educator in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and knows only too well the importance of inspiring young men of virtue to take their place in the important work of the trades. 

“Being located on an 800-acre property in Orange County, with a 500-bed Catholic Christian retreat center—plus a working demonstration farm and ranch—offers tremendous learning opportunities in the trades,” said Padilla. The retreat center serves the 600 Catholic parishes throughout the Southland and is approved for 2,000 more beds. 

The courses of study include Framing, Roofing, HVAC, Electrical, Heavy Machine Operation and Maintenance, Welding, Mechanicing, Agricultural Sciences, Animal Husbandry, Hydrology, and Soil Science. (Visit the website for the complete list of course offerings.) Padilla added, “We’re conveniently located in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains, and easily accessible by freeways.” 

And yes—this innovative trade school includes robust courses in Philosophy, the Great Books, and Theology! Padilla notes that learning how to do something is one thing, but learning why we do it—that’s entirely different and so important. So Santiago Trade School will focus on hands, hearts, and minds. 

At the completion of the two-year program, each graduate will: 

  • Know how to build a house, 

  • Know why we build the house, 

  • And both know and manage what goes on inside the house—in the daily discipline and joy of leading a Catholic family to heaven as productive members of society. 


Class sizes will be intentionally small—to maximize learning—and be no more than 15 students per cohort. There will be two cohorts per calendar year, featuring four semesters in the two-year program of study. Two deans will lead the programs. Our Dean of Trades will coordinate work projects featuring instructors from the specific trades. Our Dean of Formation will lead the courses of study in Philosophy and Theology. 

School Rector Father Glenn Baaten will lead the Student Life program of spiritual formation and activities. Father Glenn, a priest of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, has also supported his family through working in the building trades. Father Glenn sees a life lived in community, and rooted in the rhythm of the prayer of the Church, as a perfect way to form a man for his future responsibilities as husband, father, provider, and parishioner. 

Students living in community will experience joy in Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer prayed in common, plus daily mass, frequent confession, devotion prayer throughout the day, and of course observing the feasts of the liturgical calendar. 

Amazingly, students have the potential to complete this two-year program debt-free! The program cost is just $28,000 per year, yet with Santiago Trade School’s robust work/study program, students can work onsite at Santiago Retreat Center. This will enable students to graduate without debt. Applications are accepted on a 12-month rolling calendar and cohort semesters begin in September immediately following Labor Day, and the last Monday in January of each year. For more information, visit the Santiago Trade School website at

Our Mission: 

“Built upon the solid foundations of work, study, and friendship, Santiago Trade School forms young men into excellent Christian tradesmen. We are a community committed to the tough work of gaining practical jobsite wisdom as well as the spiritual wisdom that unites men to Christ.” 

Santiago Trade School is located at 27912 Baker Canyon Rd., Silverado, Orange County, CA 92676. Telephone: (714) 649-9800 Website: 

Santiago Retreat Center is located in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains, just 17 miles from the heart of Orange County and the newly consecrated Christ Cathedral. Situated on 500 acres of wilderness setting, the facility includes 500 beds with four distinct retreat areas, each with its own chapel, meeting rooms, recreational space and dormitories. The vision for Santiago Retreat Center is to assist churches in the renewal of parish life through retreats, camps and events which meet the family in each stage of development and walk with them to where Christ is calling them to be.


Santiago Retreat Center is located at 27912 Baker Canyon Rd., Silverado, Orange County, CA 92676.


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