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The Heights Foundation

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The Heights Foundation Expands Culinary Training and Job Placement Program

The Heights Foundation is expanding their culinary training and job placement program. The 14 week program, currently in place at The Heights Center will expand to include the Grace Church campuses in Cape Coral and Fort Myers in May.

Fort Myers, FL, April 27, 2016 --( The Heights Foundation is expanding their culinary training and job placement program. The 14 week program, currently in place at The Heights Center will expand to include the Grace Church campuses in Cape Coral and Fort Myers in May. It was created to address the issue of unemployment and underemployment. The food service industry training is designed to develop job-specific technical skills as well as providing support services and experiences to address barriers to success including learning challenges, minimal academic skills, limited English Proficiency, financial literacy, transportation and scheduling concerns.

“The primary goal is to build skills competencies to help adults obtain and keep employment, be effective in the workforce, and ultimately, obtain financial self-sufficiency,” said Deb Mathinos, Director of Lifelong Learning at The Heights Center. “The Heights Center’s culinary arts job training program began last January. To date 63 individuals have completed the 14-week programs and 95% are currently employed.”

The three locations across Lee County at varying times maximizes the number of economically disadvantaged individuals who can participate. Additionally, training at one site will be devoted to a program specifically designed for individuals who experience learning challenges and need an appropriately modified programmatic approach. This site will be operated as a component of Grace Church’s Exceptional Entrepreneurs Program.

Training classes are currently underway at the Heights Center and will begin at the Grace Church Central (Fort Myers) and Cape Coral campuses in May. Individuals interested in participating in the culinary training program can contact Deb Mathinos at (239) 482-7706 or The program is made possible by a grant from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation as a part of the Community Foundation’s 2015/16 Community Impact Grants.

About the Heights Foundation and the Heights Center
The Heights Center, supported by The Heights Foundation, is a place for Education, Opportunity, and Enrichment. The Heights Foundation works to build strong, self-sufficient families in the Harlem Heights neighborhood. As a 501(c)3 grassroots organization, the Center’s mission is to promote family and community development, support education, health and wellness, and provide the benefits of enrichment, expressive and cultural arts.

Harlem Heights was originally settled as a rural agricultural community. Approximately 780 children live in a mixture of single-family homes and multi-family apartments. Demographically, the population is approximately 70% Hispanic, 20% African-American, and 8% Caucasian. The poverty rate for children in Harlem Heights is more than twice the county average, with family income 40% below the county average. Families are not able to easily access family support services located in downtown Fort Myers, and benefit greatly from programs located within the neighborhood.

About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $63 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, as well as provided regional community impact grants and scholarship grants.

For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit
Contact Information
The Heights Foundation
Elly Hagen

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