MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – CBS4 first brought you the story of a first-of-its-kind free program at Florida Memorial University.

The school teamed up with the Miami Dolphins Social Impact Committee and the Lennar Foundation to help many enter the construction industry in January.

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This Wednesday, CBS4 checked back in to see how students are building a new outlook.

“You have to have more than one way of income, more than one source of income if that’s shut down, you have to be able to do something else,” Antynia Bennett said.

Back then, Bennett was still thinking about how the pandemic had impacted her work at the post office.

“I wasn’t laid off but it made me want to explore more, it wanted me to have more opportunities in case anything happened that I could have another avenue to go to,” Bennett told CBS4 back in January.

Bennett never preferred the traditional college route, but loves to learn, and taking classes focused on a specific trade is much more appealing.

What initially was a bit of hesitation has turned to confidence.

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“I’m definitely going to start a business doing electricity.”

Bennett has learned so much, as she has helped some of her classmates with assignments.

Part of the success may be due to the fact that FMU starts each course by teaching students to come up with a plan.

“It definitely does, it helps me to focus, on what it is that I’m doing and it’s going to give me a better chance at being a great electrician,” Adrienne Barry said.

She is another student CBS4 has been following since January.

Of course, the work can be tough, long hours, demanding, sometimes in unforgiving conditions, but there will be some laughs and camaraderie along the way to a career in construction.

“It does create equity but it also allows them to learn leadership trades and how to overcome struggles and challenges,” Donnie Hale, FMU Outreach and Academic Programs Exec. Director.

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The program wraps up in June, but some are ready to get to work. “I would definitely switch to this trade full time,” Bennett said.

Jacqueline Quynh