The Miami Dolphins Social Impact Committee has announced a partnership with the Lennar Foundation to invest $600,000 in Florida Memorial University’s Certificate Program in Construction Trades. The program, the first of its kind at a historically Black college or university (HBCU) in Florida, will play a key role in economic empowerment by providing equitable access for minorities in South Florida through employment in the construction business.

“The thing I love about this program is that it gives people an opportunity, and in some cases, a second chance,” said Dolphins player Patrick Laird. “Most people want a job and the ability to provide for themselves, not a handout. This program can give someone a great start to a lifelong career where they can become their own boss.”

The funding was provide in collaboration with the Miami Dolphins organization and players, the Lennar Foundation and an NFL Foundation social justice grant. Tuition, meals and transportation will be covered for all participants of the 12-month program.

“We are excited to partner with the Miami Dolphins Social Impact Committee and Lennar Foundation to launch the FMU Construction Trades Certificate Program,” said Jaffus Hardrick, FMU president. “[It] will provide residents in underserved communities throughout Miami-Dade, Miami Gardens and Opa-locka the opportunity to develop career skills to help fill the talent gaps in the construction industry.”

The program will work with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and Associated Builders and Contractors Institute (ABC) to develop curriculum, lab material, transportation and industry-recognized credentials. Upon completion, program participants will have the ability to receive several certifications, including OSHA 10, NCCER Blue Card and NCCER Level 1, and an ABC certification in electrical, HVAC or plumbing. Interested individuals can register for the program at fmuniv.edu/trade.

“In many parts of America, people aren’t afforded the opportunity to grow up in neighborhoods with well-funded schools, effective after school programs or economic opportunities,” said Dolphins player Byron Jones. “This program fills the gap that many people in underserved communities fall into. Whether you’re a high school dropout or have a criminal history, this program gives people a chance to develop career skills that will change their lives for the better.”

The Miami Dolphins Social Impact Committee was formed by players to positively impact civic engagement, education and economic empowerment. It previously donated $100,000 to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Fines and Fees program, which assists returning citizens who have outstanding fees to complete their sentences and become eligible to vote. In addition, the committee granted $300,000 to public schools in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties to bridge the digital divide and assist with wireless technology for underserved students.

“Many of Lennar’s current trade partners started as skilled laborers themselves.” said Marshall Ames, Lennar Foundation chairman. “[We’re] honored to partner with the Miami Dolphins Social Impact Committee in sponsoring the Residential Construction Skills Certification Program at Florida Memorial University.”