Community engagement is an important part of the work we do as educators.
We are committed to working with our partners to serve the needs of the community and train students in useful, workforce skills that lead to rewarding careers. We encourage companies and organizations to work with us to develop a reliable source of talent that will contribute to the economic wellbeing of our community. Here are just some of the ways in which we serve our community:
The Office of Workforce Education and Development at MDC serves to coordinate the College's response to the workforce needs of our community. We help individuals prepare for first jobs, better jobs, high skilled jobs, and lifelong professional development. We help employers fill their need for educated, high skilled employees. We help our community by enhancing economic development and the quality of life.
Reading at grade level by the third grade is the leading indicator of school success and high school graduation. Nearly half of Miami-Dade County’s third graders fail to achieve this critical benchmark. With the goal of closing this gap, the Miami Book Fair has partnered with the Children’s Trust to launch Read to Learn Books for Free. Thanks to the generous support of corporate sponsors and the general public, more than 120,000 books have been collected and given to children in underserved communities since April 2013.
In a win-win innovation that is being reviewed as a national model, MDC’s School of Education is partnering with City Year to create a new generation of passionate and highly qualified teachers. Volunteers who dedicate a year to working with students in the county’s lowest-performing public schools receive course credits from the School of Education’s Educator Preparation Institute. As a result, City Year volunteers will complete a rewarding year of service to the community with rewards of their own: a certificate of professional preparation from MDC and a Florida professional teaching certificate.
Service-learning is a form of education that integrates community service into a course. The goal is to educate students about service and democracy, prepare them for civic engagement, and encourage their development as ethical and responsible global citizens. MDC’s Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy significantly impacts the community by being a hub for information about service learning, and a leading resource that serves students, educators, and organizations throughout the Miami-Dade area.
The freedom to vote is one of our democracy's most important and hard-won rights. Miami Dade College is committed to helping all eligible students register to vote and be election-ready. Every year, millions of Americans find themselves unable to vote because they haven't updated their registration, aren't sure how to register, or have missed an important registration deadline. Visit MDC's Vote website to learn more about voter registration and ongoing voter engagement activities.
The Medical Campus has contributed tens of thousands of hours to our community. Our students and faculty participate in numerous activities that provide health education, screenings and services to underserved populations throughout Miami-Dade County. Students routinely volunteer at the Miami Rescue Mission as well as community and neighborhood health fairs, elementary schools, nursing homes, and other places where health services are needed.
MDC’s acclaimed Tuyo restaurant recently formed a new partnership with Homestead’s Verde Gardens. The joint venture creates new employment opportunities for 550 formerly homeless residents who are part of the housing community at Verde Gardens. Tuyo has agreed to source produce from the 22-acre organic farm to supplement its own organic garden at Miami Culinary Institute, where the restaurant is located.
MDC’s Hospitality Institute has initiated a Basic Culinary Skills Training Program in the Overtown area in downtown Miami. This 12 week-class teaches underserved participants the basic skills that will allow them to acquire jobs in the community.
MDC has partnered with the Caribbean Bar Association to launch the Aspire to Inspire Program. The program primarily targets minority students with the aim of motivating students to become an inspiration to other minorities in the community. The program emphasizes the importance of education, and provides mentorship to students so they stay in school, graduate and become successful and meaningful contributors to society.
MDC has a 20-year tradition of offering free tax preparation services to low-income individuals, the elderly, and non-English speaking residents. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) is administered and staffed by faculty and MDC business students who offer their time to help individuals prepare their tax forms.
MDC’s Single Stop program helps students get connected to federal and state benefits by making just one stop. Since its inception three years ago, the program has served 21,000 students and families, providing nearly $28 million in services and benefits, legal and financial counseling, and free tax preparation. Single Stop expanded services this year to include a food pantry, which served more than 200 families by providing free non-perishable food.
MDC’s School of Business implemented the 10,000 Small Businesses program with a five-year, $5 million partnership with the Goldman Sachs Foundation. This initiative aims to help small businesses in the United States create jobs and economic growth. Participants in the program reflect a diverse group of businesses representing facilities maintenance, manufacturing, and employee staffing.
Entrepreneurship should be viewed as a skill to be taught, learned and used in the community. New, small business are the bedrock of the local economy. MDC’s groundbreaking The Idea Center fosters and implements an entrepreneurial mindset across the entire college educational system. Funded by an investment by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Idea Center is the college’s new engine of innovation -- the place where students from all disciplines can gather, collaborate and take advantage of resources and training to develop their entrepreneurial ideas.
MDC has continued to grow its partnership with Year Up, by expanding its Professional Training Corps program to the North Campus. The free program which aims to help students with professional development and work experience, is modeled after the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
Tourism is one of the largest economic engines driving our community. In partnership with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, MDC’s Center for Service Excellence (CSE) supported the tourist industry by training more than 6,000 new hires at Miami International Airport. The CSE educated employees in customer service and the importance of creating a favorable first impression.
Arts and culture organizations function as employers, producers, consumers, and key promoters of their cities and regions. They contribute significantly to the business economy and attract a workforce that is creative and innovative. For more than 50 years, Miami Dade College has contributed to the artistic and economic wellbeing of our community by offering arts education and thought-provoking endeavors in a range of disciplines including film, the visual arts, literature, the performing arts, and most recently, the culinary arts. We invite you to engage with the arts and support our efforts to enrich the cultural life of our community.