The Heights Center Seeking Applications for Culinary Training Program

Program will provide students with skills needed to succeed in a professional kitchen

The Heights Center is seeking applications for its new Culinary Training program. The program will provide students with the essential skills needed to enter the food service industry in just 15 weeks. Classes will begin in January 2015. Tuition is based on verified family income; full and partial scholarships are available.
Students will gain experience in proper use and maintenance of professional knives, hand tools and commercial kitchen equipment, learn fundamental cooking skills used in professional kitchens and become familiar with the layout and workflow of professional kitchens and restaurants.

“The mission of our program is to help people achieve their greatest potential through small classes, individualized instruction and real world practical experience,” said Deb Mathinos, Director of Lifelong Learning at The Heights Center. “Students will complete their training in a fully-operational commercial kitchen alongside chef instructors.”

The Heights Center Culinary Training program is a rising member of Catalyst Kitchens ™. Catalyst Kitchens™ is a collaborative network of organizations with a shared vision to empower lives through job training, self-generate revenue through social enterprise, and nourish bodies and minds through quality foodservice.
This program is in collaboration with Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida and is sponsored in part by The Southwest Florida Community Foundation.
Individuals interested in participating in the Catalyst Kitchen Culinary Training program can contact Deb Mathinos at (239) 482-7706 or

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.