MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami World Center is one of Downtown Miami’s newest and largest developments.
Condos, Restaurants, Retails Shops and so much more on 27-acres in the heart of Miami.
This multi-million dollar project stands out from the rest because the developers are making sure they are not only building but also helping young people build better futures for themselves.
One of the key projects is the 700-foot Paramount Condo Building which is currently under construction. And those helping to electrically wire the building include apprentices like Jared Breitenstein. Breitenstein is a U.S. Navy Veteran who served in Afghanistan and his goal is to become a certified engineer. Jared joined the apprentice program nearly a year ago after serving as an intelligence specialist with the navy.
“I was unemployed for quite a while, trying to find a job after the military. I was too qualified for some jobs, unqualified for others. So I really wanted an opportunity to learn a trade,” said Breitenstein.
That’s where Chris Riley steps in as Jared’s boss and mentor. Riley is the project executive for Power Design Incorporated here at the Paramount Condos.
“The beauty is the company pays for the apprenticeship fees and the actual credits and program curriculum qualifies for credit toward a Bachelor’s degree, you are also qualified to take your journeyman’s license and become a journeyman electrician,” said Riley
On this project, that’s $21 dollars an hour for a first-year apprentice, up to $44 dollars an hour for a journeyman electrician. And for this veteran and father of three boys, it means so much more.
Breitenstein describes this apprenticeship as an opportunity to really change your life around.
“He had no experience in the industry, but he is a U.S. Navy veteran with an aptitude for learning. He is well on his way to learning our industry and he has a goal to go into engineering in our coordination department, and he’s doing really well so far,” said Riley.
And so is Jasmine McWilliams, who grew up in nearby Allapattah. She’s had several jobs over the year with little or no success. However, when she met Riley things took a dramatic change.
Riley recalls the first day he met McWilliams. “She came with a codebook in her bag and said, ‘I want to be the first female superintendent at Power Design,” said Riley.
The apprentice program takes five years, Jasmine passed the exam in two years
She says she was really committed and made sure to study all the time.
And when she’s not working on big buildings, Chris makes sure to give his apprentices advice not only about the job but he works to make sure they have solid life goals as well.
“He talks about saving money for houses and important things. And he talks about building credit. So, I’ve been good with that, I’ve been able to get me a car,” said McWilliams.
During our interview, Jasmine is brought to tears when she talks about the support she has received from Christ and the entire team at Power Design Inc., She also reveals that is hasn’t been an easy path for her as a young female in a male-dominated industry but she will always be grateful to Chris for accepting her and for not turning his back on her.
“I’m very proud that she took her journeyman’s exam and passed it. I have no doubt that in two years if you come back and check on Jared and Jasmine that they will be well on their way to that point,” said Riley.
Power Design Incorporated has about 200 apprentices working all across the country. They plan to add another 200 apprentice positions.