Miami Community Ventures Launches New Initiatives, Sets Bold Goals for Year Two

Skills-development and job-placement programing considered critical
to support Miami’s immense business growth

MIAMI, FL – JUNE 29, 2021 – While technology and finance companies flock to Greater Miami, the Beacon Council Foundation’s Miami Community Ventures (MCV) connects low-income, structurally-unemployed individuals to living wage jobs and long-term career pathways to stay on-track with the city’s growth.


MCV provides wraparound support services to participants for up to one year after being hired, allowing them to focus on retention, development, and success. The program has raised close to $2 Million to-date – including six-figure grants from partners like JPMorgan Chase, Florida Blue, and Miami-Dade County – and placed more than 80 people in jobs since October 2020, with an average wage that significantly exceeds the living wage target. All participants are low-income residents, close to 85% are in communities with poverty rates of 20% or higher, and more than 50% are returning citizens.


Closing out a successful first year in 2020, MCV is launching two initiatives in 2021 with the help of a combined 50+ partners, supporters, and funders:

  • Small Business Entrepreneurship Track: With support from founding sponsor Bank of America, the entrepreneurship track launched this month, and targets small community businesses that can scale with the right support. This track will offer toolkits to help female-owned Black and Latinx early-stage businesses grow, including hands-on coaching, mentorship, and premium access to procurement and funding opportunities.
  • The Bean Automotive Group Apprenticeship Program: MCV brought together three organizations, The Bean Automotive Group, Miami Dade College, and CareerSource South Florida, to create career pathways for Miami-Dade residents that help serve the urgent talent needs of employers. Participants become certified automotive technician specialists upon successful completion of the program, which blends classroom instruction and on-the-job training for living wage jobs.


“These new initiatives launched by the Miami Community Ventures program are doing the important work of investing in the economic stability and development of our residents, which is critical for a growing community like Miami-Dade. MCV helps local talent keep pace with our rapidly evolving local economy while also serving developing businesses with a strong talent pipeline.” said Michael A. Finney, President and CEO of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council. “This is a great way for newly arriving and long-standing Miami-Dade companies to invest in the development of this community and its workforce.”


The initiatives launched this year will help MCV achieve its 2021 goal of placing 280 people in living-wage jobs, almost doubling the number of placements from 2020.


The Small Business Entrepreneurship track will primarily serve Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs. “At Bank of America, we know it is critical for small businesses to have the right tools to create sustainable growth. Their success stimulates local job creation and drives positive economic impact where it is needed most,” said Gene Schaefer, President, Bank of America Miami. “By investing in the Beacon Council Foundation’s Miami Community Ventures program, we are empowering female entrepreneurs to break barriers and make a direct impact on our local community and economy.”


The Bean Automotive Apprenticeship Program will provide stable career pathways to those needing it most, “It is our priority to stay up-to-date with the latest automotive technology and certifications. This program helps our community keep up with these ever-changing requirements,” said George Wiltz, Bean Auto Group Chief Financial Officer. “We are investing in apprentice technicians, providing a pathway to a rewarding career, and creating a strong talent pipeline within our industry for years to come. This is an exciting venture, and we are proud to partner with Miami-Dade College, CareerSource South Florida and The Beacon Council in serving our community.”


For Miami-Dade County, the rate of unemployment and poverty in underserved communities often exceeds national, state, and comparable county-wide averages. Unemployment impacts poverty, recidivism, and crime rates. Designed to deliver long-term inclusive economic benefits to local communities over a state-audited five-year period, MCV addresses core unemployment issues and delivers solutions that positively impact individuals, families, employers, and communities for generations to come.


Led by Sheri Colas Gervais, Vice President and Executive Director of Miami Community Ventures, the program’s strategic advisory group includes George Acevedo, Divisional Director/Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase Bank; Eduardo Padron, PhD, President Emeritus, Miami Dade College; and Penny Shaffer, PhD, Market President – South Florida, Florida Blue; with support from Matt Haggman, Executive Vice President, One Community One Goal, and Michael A. Finney, President and CEO, Miami-Dade Beacon Council.


MCV is grateful to its funders such as Allegany Franciscan Ministries; Bank of America; Bank United; Baptist Health South Florida; Deloitte; Florida Blue; JPMorgan Chase; OIC South Florida; TD Foundation; Truist Foundation; and Uber. MCV would not be possible without the help of supporters such as Miami-Dade County and CareerSource South Florida.


About Miami Community Ventures, a Beacon Council Foundation Initiative

Miami Community Ventures, a Beacon Council Foundation initiative, is a collective impact initiative that connects low-income, structurally unemployed individuals to living wage jobs and long-term career pathways. The Miami‐Dade Beacon Council is the official economic development organization for Miami‐Dade County. Its mission is to increase jobs and investment through marketing Miami as a world-class business destination, helping grow local companies, and shaping Miami-Dade’s economic future. The Beacon Council Foundation, Inc. is a Florida Not-for-Profit Corporation created exclusively for charitable and educational purposes to publish Miami‐Dade County Florida statistical data, lessen the burdens of government, and combat community deterioration. More information can be found at or contact Sheri Colas Gervais, at