February 2016, Volume 20, Number 1

Features

Frank Ferrara and Chef Collen Engle
Celebrating MDC’s achievements were instructor Frank Ferrara, left, and Chef Collen Engle, who chairs MDC’s Miami Culinary Institute.

At the Head of the Class

Shelly Fano
At the event, Shelly Fano, executive director of MDC’s Hospitality Institute, was recognized once again as an AOHT Champion.

The MDC Foundation recently won a South Florida Tourism Professional of the Year Award in the nonprofit category for its initiatives and partner-ship with Miami Dade College’s Hospitality Institute. The award was presented in the fall by the Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Academy of Hospitality and Tourism (AOHT).

Julie Grimes, chair of the MDC Foundation, accepted the award on behalf of the Foundation. At the award event, Shelly Fano, executive director of the Hospitality Institute, was recognized once again as an AOHT Champion.

The Hospitality Institute, under the umbrella of the MDC Miami International Hospitality Center, is partially sponsored by the MDC Foundation.

The Hospitality Institute provides a unique program that fast tracks participants into jobs in the booming hospitality sector in South Florida. The program focuses primarily on those in underserved areas where unemployment is disproportionately high, and it trains attendees for high-demand positions, such as working at the front desk and in culinary and concierge services. Now located in the Overtown neighborhood, the Hospitali-ty Institute is developing plans to expand its services more broadly throughout Miami-Dade County.

“We have a great placement rate, getting our students right into the workforce,” Fano said. “Since 2008, more than 2,800 students have participat-ed in our work readiness program.”

There have been some remarkable successes along the way.

“Students have attended our trainings and have been hired in hotels such as the Doubletree Grand and the Marriott Marquis, and other high-end lodging and food and beverage establishments,” Fano said.

The program has also generated enterprising entrepreneurs, many of whom have gone on to open their own businesses after increasing their knowledge of the industry through their classes at the Hospitality Institute.


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