MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins and Lennar Foundation partnered with Florida Memorial University (FMU) to host a completion ceremony for the first participating class of FMU’s Certificate Program in Construction Trades on June 4, 2021.
Joined by guest speakers including FMU President Dr. Jaffus Hardrick, Lennar Foundation Chairman Marshall Ames, MCO Construction and Services, Inc. President Ann McNeill, Miami Dolphins Senior Vice President of Communications & Community Affairs Jason Jenkins, Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones and participation from Miami Dolphins defensive end Christian Wilkins, students walked across the stage and took photos as they received their completion certificate in front of invited friends, families and teachers.
“To be a part of an institution that has been here for decades doing well for the Black community and then to help people within the Black community means the world to us as Black individuals, athletes who made it out so it’s our chance to give back,” Jones said. “You can tell they really cared about the program, they cared about the teachers and they cared about each other so it was fun to see that in-person. Understanding that in Miami the two biggest trades are hospitality and construction, these graduates will have a great opportunity to be successful in this world.”
In January 2021, the Miami Dolphins Social Impact Committee joined the Lennar Foundation to fund FMU’s Certificate Program in Construction Trades. This program, the first of its kind at a Historically Black College in Florida, was launched to create economic empowerment by providing equitable access for minorities in South Florida through employment in the construction business. The donation is in collaboration with Miami Dolphins players, the organization, the Lennar Foundation and an NFL Foundation social justice grant.
“We all know that success is built on relationships and that’s what I am so excited about, great partners like the Dolphins, like Lennar Foundation and others who are highly supportive of this institutions and what we are doing to help solve problems and challenges in our community,” Hardrick said. “This 12-week program is proving to be highly successful and I am so proud of those graduates who stayed, who stuck in there and are now completing.”
“It means everything to know that one of the top construction companies of the world along with one of the best NFL teams is sponsoring this program and it shows that they still care,” Student Jenae Mitchell said. “Miami Gardens is the heart of the city of the team and for them to give back to the community is a good thing.”
Tuition, along with meals and transportation, was free for all participants in the program. Working with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and Associated Builders and Contractors Institute (ABC), the program provided curriculum, lab materials and industry-recognized credentials upon completion in an electrical, HVAC or plumbing trade. Participants can enroll in the program at www.fmuniv.edu/trade.
The Miami Dolphins Social Impact Committee was formed by players to positively impact civic engagement, education and economic empowerment. Previously, the committee donated $100,000 to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Fines and Fees program in September 2020 to impact hundreds of people with past convictions with a focus on Miami Gardens and the surrounding communities. In addition, the committee gave $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.