The Community Disparities Subcommittee, chaired by Commissioner Eileen Higgins, has been allocated $1 million in the County budget to expand the Miami Community Ventures (MCV) program to 200 families. The expansion of the program will target families enrolled in the local Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) program.
In May 2019, Commissioner Higgins invited President and CEO of the Beacon Council, Michael Finney, to present on the MCV pilot program at the Community Disparities Subcommittee. The MCV pilot program, modeled on a successful program in Michigan led by Mr. Finney, is an innovative program designed to help the “structurally unemployed” get and stay in living wage jobs by providing a suite of wrap-around services individually tailored to each participant’s needs. These services range from transportation assistance to success coaching, job training, childcare, financial literacy, and more for up to one year.
Following the presentation to the Community Disparities Subcommittee, which was created by Commission Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson to develop strategies to address economic, housing, transportation, justice and other disparities, Commissioner Higgins successfully advocated to have $1 million in funding for expansion of the program included in the Mayor’s proposed budget, and Sept. 19 the funding was approved by the Board of County Commissioners.
“It’s unrealistic to think that all it takes for someone to succeed is getting the job,” said Commissioner Higgins. “That’s just the first step, and, as many workers in our community know, plenty of challenges can stand in the way of a low-income resident who wants to work from being able to keep a job. What is exciting about this approach is the ‘whatever it takes’ mentality to help folks get and stay in living wage jobs.”
“The Beacon Council Economic Development Foundation is pleased to partner with Miami-Dade County, CareerSource South Florida and many private sector businesses in expanding Miami Community Ventures. The County-wide launch of MCV signals to all Miami-Dade residents that, by working together, we can overcome employment barriers that prevent economically distressed residents from securing living wage jobs. The transformational impact of this program extends far beyond the individual families to strengthen our community as a whole,” said Michael Finney, president & CEO.
MCV is a One Community One Goal initiative created by the Beacon Council Economic Development Foundation, Inc. in partnership with CareerSource South Florida, and works with corporate and non-profit partners to provide low-income “structurally unemployed” individuals access to sustainable living wage jobs and the services they need to keep the jobs.
HS/EHS is a free, high-quality educational program for eligible children from birth through five years of age but is designed to address issues within the entire family. Today, more than 40 percent of HS/EHS parents are unemployed or underemployed. By getting these parents into living wage jobs, the program hopes to leverage existing resources and make real and lasting changes in the futures of families in Miami-Dade County.
For more information, please contact Francis Izquierdo, Communications Coordinator for Miami-Dade County District 5 Commissioner Eileen Higgins, at Francis.Izquierdo@miamidade.gov or 305-375-5924.