Overtown gets major grant for new hospitality institute

Miami Times staff report | 11/7/2013, 9 a.m.
Left to Right (Front Row): Shelly E. Fano, Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus President Dr. Jose Vicente, Double Tree Grand Owner Julie Grimes, , Jonelle Adderley, Greg Vaday, Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, Florida Senator Dwight Bullard, Miguel Valentin . (Back Row): Brandyss Howard ,Randy Wiscombe, City of Miami Grants Director Lillian Blondett, Brian Zeltsman, SEOPW CRA Executive Director Clarence E. Woods, III, Jose Gonzalez, Vice President of Corporate Development for Florida East Coast Industries, Nathaniel Joseph, Xavier Vega and Chef John Richards.

City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones announced the granting of a $900,000 federal award to the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency (SEOPW CRA), the City of Miami, and Miami-Dade College at a press conference on Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at 300 NW 11th Street.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration awarded the grant to help underwrite the cost of the rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of historic Ebenezer Methodist Church into a multi-purpose community center and future home of the Miami-Dade College Hospitality and Culinary Institute. Once completed, the project will include a banquet facility, catering kitchen, and kitchen incubator for local food entrepreneurs.

The Hospitality and Culinary Institute, which is partially funded by the SEOPW CRA, provides residents of Overtown with job training and referral services in the hospitality industry.

“The Miami Dade College Hospitality and Culinary Institute has been a tremendous asset to Overtown,” said Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, “Since its inception, the job training program has successfully placed over 534 people with jobs in the hospitality industry and trained over 1,750 people. This funding from the EDA will allow the institute to build on the success of the program and pave the way for future economic growth and expanded job opportunities.”

For more information, contact the SEOPW CRA at 305-679-6800.