(WSVN) - Every mother wants a better life for her children, and for one South Florida woman, that goal has taken her down a different career path. 7’s Katrina Bush shows us how she is helping women “Build a Better Future” in our special report.

For a single mom like Luisa, finding ways to support her family can be a challenge.

Luisa Ortiz, Sister of N.E.W. CEO: “I’ve had a lot of different types of jobs. The doing the makeup and the hair in the morning, the pantyhose, that’s not for me.”

One day, Luisa saw a line of men getting on a truck to go to construction jobs. On impulse, she hopped on board.

Within hours, she knew she had hammered out a career.

As a woman working in construction, she had to knock down the perception that she couldn’t do the work.

Luisa Ortiz: “I never gave up, even when someone would tell me ‘No, it’s not gonna happen.’ I’d take the sledgehammer, and I’d start knocking down the walls.”

And now, 15 years later, she’s turning the career she loves into a tool to help other struggling women.

She has created Sister of N.E.W., which stands for “Nontraditional Employment for Women.”

Luisa Ortiz: “If women got at least a little bit experience and someone to lead them in the right direction and how to do it, they would become very successful at what they do.”

Each woman goes through a six-month program at their own pace. The first stop is at Atomic Training and Performance in Fort Lauderdale to undergo strength training for construction jobs.

Coach Casey Rotondi, owner of ATP Gym: “Here they’re going to lift, they’re going to carry, drag, push, pull and do all those things that’s going to mimic what they’re going to be doing on the job site.”

Coach Casey says the program is more than just strength training.

Coach Casey Rotondi: “We’re giving you all the tools you need to accomplish this and actually provide for your family.”

For Crystal, a single mom of two, this is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Crystal Bravo: “I loved it instantly. I think it’s very empowering for women. I think it gives women a chance to get off of public assistance and go actually into the work field.”

Women are also taught construction skills — from hammers to drills, saws to safety.

And another key tool for success? A lifestyle class, which teaches money management and investing.

Crystal Bravo: “I just want to leave a legacy to my kids to show them that Mom has been through hell and back, but look at Mom now.”

When they have completed the program, Marvette Gordon will help them find jobs. She has been doing construction for 20 years so she knows what these women will face.

Marvette Gordon, owner of Women in Construction: “It’s about time that women put our hats on, put our boots on, put on our tool belts and get out there and do the work.”

For Luisa, seeing women build a better future is a dream come true.

Luisa Ortiz: “I never gave up, and I kept going.”

If you would like to participate in Sister of N.E.W. or would like to make a donation, go to the links below.


Sister of N.E.W.


The WiC Group, Llc
Marvette Gordon
(954) 614-9944

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