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Growing Green Jobs: The Underline Welcomes Second Green Leaders Cohort 

June 10, 2024
by Meg Daly

Friends of The Underline announced today the launch of its second round of participants in the Green Leaders apprenticeship program. With support from Bank of America and the Daly Family Fund, and in partnership with Miami Dade College, this innovative program is creating the next generation of horticulture professionals. For 2024 class, The Underline welcomes Andrea Beceiro, focusing on landscape architecture at the Miami Dade College (MDC) Wolfson Campus; Kimberley Downer, a sociology major at the MDC North Campus; Corey Duke, a software engineering major at the MDC Wolfson Campus; Malik Reid, a biology major at the MDC Kendall Campus; and Fabian Zuniga-Santos, a biology major at MDC North Campus.

“The Daly Family Fund is vested in Green Leaders because of its incredible potential to upskill individuals in a way that contributes to The Underline and the community’s long term viability,” John Daly, Daly Family Fund said. “By combining a specialized skill set with emerging technologies, we anticipate that the Green Leaders program will become a valuable resource for all of Miami’s open spaces.”

Guided by The Underline’s horticulturist Asha Bertsch, the apprentices gain practical experience in maintaining the still-expanding 2.64-mile-long native plant ecological corridor of The Underline. They will also have the opportunity to connect with other local horticulturists through field trips to Fairchild Tropical Garden and other South Florida gardens, as well as on site lectures from professionals from UF/IFAS Extension, Miami-Dade County and more. 

“As The Underline grows its footprint in the community, Bank of America is investing in the increasingly important Green Leaders program to help make individuals more employable, The Underline more sustainable, and Miami more resilient,” said Vania Laguerre, Bank of America Sr. Vice President and Market Executive.

Already, the Green Leaders apprenticeship program’s lasting impact is being felt on participants’ lives. Two graduates from the inaugural 2023 apprentice cohort were hired to work on The Underline’s horticulture team. At the conclusion of the program, Daniel Arrubla was hired as a full time gardener for The Underline and is now pursuing additional certifications to become The Underline’s first arborist. Likewise, Elissa Eguiluz was hired as a part-time gardener and now helps lead The Underline’s Day In The Dirt volunteer plantings.

“Friends of The Underline is proud to continue the Green Leaders apprenticeship program. With the support of Bank of America, the Daly Family Fund, and Miami Dade College, we’re cultivating the next generation of horticulture professionals through hands-on experience and industry connections,” Patrice Gillespie Smith, President & COO of Friends of The Underline said.

Acerca de Friends of The Underline: 

Our mission is to deliver and activate a 120-acre, first-class linear park, urban trail, and event space spanning 10-miles below Miami’s Metrorail that will transform regional mobility and celebrate diversity, culture and lifelong learning. Through innovative urban trails and creative programming, we are connecting people to their environment and each other to create a safe, healthy, equitable, and sustainable community. For more information, follow on Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, or visit theunderline.org