The University of the Virgin Islands - Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning (UVICELL) Center was recently awarded a $794,220 grant from the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Authority.
The three-year grant was provided as part of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Program and is designed to address critical community development needs while extending the role and effectiveness of HBCU's in their neighborhoods.
The project seeks to expand UVICELL's existing facility in Frederiksted, St. Croix, which will allow the University to enhance the services offered to residents of the Virgin Islands. The creation of the Frederiksted Resource Center will serve as Phase II of the project. In 2003, UVICELL was awarded a HUD grant to develop the infrastructure needed to deliver training programs and provide job-readiness skills. As a continuation of this endeavor, the recently awarded grant is designed to build upon programs currently offered and provides resources for entrepreneurs and job seekers, through partnerships with other agencies.
"This is the second time HUD has favorably considered our grant application and this serves as a testament to the quality and standards the University is able maintain," says UVICELL Director Ilene Garner. "It allows us to continuously forge partnerships that foster educational achievement, entrepreneurial activities and prepare the workforce for the future."
As part of the grant, UVICELL will partner with UVI's Small Business Development Center to spur entrepreneurial activities by establishing an incubator for existing and emerging microenterprises. UVICELL will also collaborate with the V.I. Department of Labor to offer seamless support services and training for under and unemployed individuals.
"We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with UVICELL on this venture," said Commissioner of Labor, Albert Bryan, Jr. "This partnership represents a unique opportunity for us to expand the services of our One-Stop Center and provide job services to residents in Frederiksted," continued Commissioner Bryan.
For more information on the grant or the UVICELL Center, call (340) 693-1100.