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The Hospitality Institute at Miami Dade College Receives Grant from Hilton Hotels to Enhance Workforce Training Program

Hospitality Institute-Hilton Grant-alt

Madeline Pumariega, president of MDC's Wolfson Campus; Jennifer Silberman, VP corporate social responsibility, Hilton Worldwide; Julie Grimes, owner's representative of the Doubletree Grand and Hilton Bentley Hotels; and Chef John Richards, director of MDC's Miami Culinary Institute.

Miami, May 3, 2012 - The Hospitality Institute at Miami Dade College (MDC) was recently awarded a grant from Hilton Worldwide Corporation to enhance the job readiness training program it offers several times a year to residents of Miami’s inner city neighborhoods.

Since 2007, the Institute has offered training and job-readiness programs four times a year to nearly 1,400 participants and has placed 438 directly into jobs. Offered at no cost to participants, the training covers hospitality, customer service, and food safety skills, food handler certification, resume writing, interviewing techniques, dining etiquette, professional attire, basic computer skills, financial literacy and more.   

Building on the success of the program, MDC seeks to further bridge the gap of opportunity by expanding the training and support offered by the Hospitality Institute. The Hospitality Institute was developed to act as this bridge, and through a collaborative effort between local hoteliers, community agencies, committed volunteers and MDC, the hospitality industry is able to connect with residents of Miami’s inner city.  

The grant will help the Hospitality Institute accomplish the following: 

  • Alumni events and follow-up, including case management and year-round monitoring of alumni progress in the areas of job search, job placement, and referrals to social service agencies as needed
  • Inner city and community outreach, such as the development of a one-stop site in Overtown aimed at improving the lives of residents
  • The addition of a culinary training program for participants that have completed the initial four-day training and conducted at MDC’s Miami Culinary Institute
  • An extended five-week Hospitality and Customer Service Training program
  • Entrepreneurial education programs for returning Hospitality Institute alumni
  • Added participation by the State Attorney’s mobile unit to assist participants with criminal records and provide free legal services
  • Participation by the South Florida Workforce mobile unit for electronic job search as well as evaluate and qualify clients individually for job matching
  • Increased partnerships with industry and employers
  • Conducting state mandated Servsafe training and certification for participants who will go on to apply for positions in the food and beverage field
  • Conducted computer training in collaboration with Miami-Dade County Public Library System

In addition to providing participants with the opportunity to connect with an education and jobs, the Hospitality Institute mentors and encourages individuals to explore the possibilities beyond their existing situations.

“The Hospitality Institute is honored to provide participants with the essential tools needed to realize goals they never imagined they could attain and contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty in the process,” said Shelly Fano, director of MDC’s Hospitality Management Program and the Hospitality Institute. 

The next Job-Readiness Training will be held in May and September 2012.

For more information about the Hospitality Institute’s training programs, Shelly Fano at 305-237-3370,;  Randy Wiscombe at 305-329-2845, ; or visit

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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