A long-time vision of Norman Braman, founder and CEO of Braman Motors, is shaping the course of many young lives through an innovative vocational program developed in conjunction with Miami- Dade County Public Schools, the Braman Automotive Training Center.
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ partnership with Braman Automotive Training Center is an ideal example of a public/private partnership,” said Alberto M. Carvalho, superintendent of schools. “Students can pursue careers as automotive technicians while having an opportunity to work side-by-side with trained professionals through a mentorship program. They earn a certification that allows them to step into a good job.
“The public benefits because the program contributes to our community’s highly-trained workforce, and the private sector benefits by having the trained workers they need. It’s definitely a winwin venture.”
The program, launched in July 2011, will see its first group of 20 graduates in December of this year. The students, who receive free tuition, equipment, laptop computers and tools courtesy of Braman Motors, were selected via application process that included complete background checks.
In addition to providing the required 1,800 hours of curriculum in an on-site classroom with an ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) accredited instructor, students in the Braman program have the opportunity to have hands-on experience at the dealership and earn income through a paid internship program.
“I am truly impressed with the level of talent and strength of character our students have brought to Braman Motors,” Norman Braman said. “I am proud to support and help this remarkable group in a way that will add value to their lives and to our community.”
Many students in the program go to school, participate in the internship program and work other jobs.
Miami native and graduate of Miami Central High School, Joselyn Marrero, 18, is the only female in the program and works at a local movie theater when she’s not going to school, studying or interning at Braman.
“I grew up working alongside my father fixing cars and have a passion for this industry,” Marrero said. “My hope is to be able to stay here at Braman and secure a full-time job.”
Twelve Braman employees — in service, parts and collision departments — have embraced this program and taken many of the students under their wings, volunteering as personal mentors.
“This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for me — a gift,” said 24- year-old Joel Jean. “I have been working on cars since I was a child in Haiti where everyone fixed their own cars. It is an incredible honor to be here, to train with professionals and it is so exciting to be part of this program.”
With employment in the automotive industry projected to grow about 18-26 percent through 2014, the demand for technicians is expected to remain strong.
The second Braman Automotive Training Center session will start in January 2013. Applications now are being accepted. Interested students can contact Richard Lotito, course instructor, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-558-8000.