The construction industry is helping keep South Florida’s economy in a solid state, and Florida International University wants to help job seekers of low resources cash in on the myriad of jobs available in the field.
The Moss School of Construction, Infrastructure, and Sustainability of FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing is set to offer a certificate program on Construction Trades beginning this August. Construction jobs in South Florida are in high demand.
In May, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that constructions jobs in South Florida saw the largest over-the-year increase, with more than 10,000 jobs added to the workforce. Yet, many developers are experiencing project delays due to a shortage of qualified workers.
The program is designed for job seekers of low resources, those who live below the federal poverty line, and want to break into the construction industry. The 10-week course will allow participants to learn the basis of different trades, including masonry, plumbing, carpentry, HVAC and electrical systems.
The program will help those interested in the construction field break negative stigmas about working in the industry, explained instructor and senior program coordinator, Victoria Tomas. “We want to reach out to the community and prepare them to find better employment,” she said.
For many construction jobs, no high school diploma or college degree is needed, but workers need to have basic certifications and experience with different tools and equipment in order to be hired. In the 10 weeks, participants will learn construction math, proper machinery and tool handling, as well as interview training and how to improve communication skills.
At the completion of this program, participants will graduate with various certificates useful for landing entry-level job positions.
“I want to get to enhance my trade skill set,” said Cyril Andrews, one of the participants already enrolled in the upcoming program, who is employed, but wants to improve his economic situation. “The better the skill set that you have to offer, the more money they can offer you.”
FIU has partnered with Community Work and Training Program INC (CWTP) based in Overtown to help the participants transition from the classroom into a job upon completion of the course. Administrative Assistant of CWTP, Emanuel Washington runs the organization with his wife, Sandra. He provides mentorship to people who come to his organization. He assesses their skills, connects them to different construction and other trade professions, and tracks the progress of the employees he refers to different jobs.
Regarding the new 10-week course, Washington and his team are committed to helping participants throughout the entire process, he explained. “We are going to help them on the way and on the way out,” he said.
FIU will provide books, training, transportation, and even dinner, at no cost to the selected participants. Participants must meet the federal poverty level and pass a drug screening, in order to be considered for the program . No high school diploma is needed. More opportunities to participate in the program will be available in spring and summer of next year.
The program is sponsored and funded by Lennar, a national homebuilder.