Miami Dade College Receives $15M from Knight Foundation, Miami-Dade County, City of Miami and Miami DDA to Expand Technology Programs and Fuel Growing Miami Tech Ecosystem

The College will launch MDC Tech to bring together industry leaders, community partners, faculty, students and community members to support the development of the local talent pipeline in emerging technologies and the global innovation economy     

Miami, Feb. 23, 2022 – As Miami continues positioning itself as a major international technology hub, Miami Dade College (MDC) announces it will expand its educational offerings with a total of $15 million combined investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami-Dade County, City of Miami and the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA). The funds will support innovative programs in applied artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and related emerging technologies.

The $15 million investment comprises a $7 million grant from Knight Foundation, a $5 million contribution from Miami-Dade County, $2 million from the City of Miami and $1 million from the Miami DDA.

“MDC has been the higher education leader in the South Florida community for 62 years, helping to build and elevate our city from within,” said MDC President and alumna Madeline Pumariega. “With these historic investments and support from key partners, we are expanding that mission, preparing students for top jobs in emerging and growing technology careers, helping residents upskill to attain economic mobility, and driving the growth of businesses in South Florida while fueling local talent for the jobs of tomorrow, today.”

Over the past five years, MDC’s School of Engineering and Technology (EnTec) has garnered the attention and support of top global industry leaders in emerging technologies, including IBM, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google, Cisco and Oracle. As a result, EnTec’s programs in areas including cloud computing, cybersecurity and data analysis are among the country’s most market-aligned in terms of curriculum and skills development. Since 2017, enrollment in tech-related programs at EnTec has grown by 120%. Today, EnTec serves more than 5,000 students each year across more than 30 degrees.

“Miami Dade College is a cornerstone institution in Miami, offering high-quality, accessible educational and workforce training programming for our incredibly talented and diverse community,” said Raul Moas, senior director of the Knight Foundation Miami program. “With this new investment from Knight Foundation and our valued partners here in Miami, MDC is significantly growing its ability to meet the growing community demand for careers in tech while fueling industry with needed talent.”

Since 2012, Knight Foundation has invested more than $55 million in nurturing Miami’s tech and startup ecosystem by connecting entrepreneurs, attracting investments and growing the city’s talent base. This latest investment builds on Knight’s support of Miami Tech, including a $15 million commitment in Florida International University (FIU), the University of Miami (UM) and Baptist Health South Florida announced in February 2021. In September 2021, Knight announced $510,000 in investments to four local organizations and entities that help boost a sense of community among tech practitioners in the city.  In November 2021,  Knight Foundation announced a $2.25 million investment in CodePath to expand and launch programming at FIU, Florida Memorial University and MDC to connect students to tech careers.

This groundbreaking gift comes at a time when enrollment in tech programs is reaching all-time highs and will allow MDC to increase by over 20-percent its EnTec faculty with a focus in AI and emerging tech disciplines, as well as develop new courses and professional development programs in these fields. MDC will also implement AI for All, an initiative that aims to train every MDC student in applied AI regardless of their degree track.

“Time and time again, Miami Dade College has proven itself to be an invaluable partner in Miami’s development as the Capital of Capital—and during a time where human capital is just as, if not more, valuable as financial capital, this $2 million from the City of Miami to invest in a talent pipeline is $2 million well spent, with immeasurable returns,” said City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Through this initiative, MDC will be the first college in the nation to implement an artificial intelligence course in its core curriculum. MDC will also build an AI Center to foster experiential learning and collaboration between industry and academia, which will join existing MDC technology centers focused on animation and gaming, cloud computing and cybersecurity.

“Downtown Miami has become a fertile ground for innovation and a high-tech cluster is taking shape before our eyes. Like Miami Dade College, the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has been on the front lines in growing our economy and grooming talent,” said City of Miami Commissioner and Chairman of the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Manolo Reyes. “Recognizing that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already playing a critical role in our daily lives and that its impact will grow with time, the Miami DDA is making a $1 million investment to help put Downtown Miami on the global map as one of the top places to learn and develop the science behind AI.”

The expansion of MDC’s technology programs thanks to this new multimillion-dollar funding to MDC comes as the College launches MDC Tech, a gateway to connect students, community members and employers with tech offerings at MDC. Through MDC Tech, current and prospective students will have access to all MDC tech courses, programs and professional development opportunities, as well as scholarships. Tech companies and other Miami employers seeking local tech talent will also find a direct platform to reach MDC students with the most sought-after tech skills.

“We are an extremely talented community with a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit that could take the current tech boom to the next level if given an opportunity to do so,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “It is an honor for Miami-Dade County to partner with our local college community to invest in our residents and open new doors in the tech industry for local talent. Together, we are giving the tech industry local roots so it can grow even stronger and our community can thrive.”


 About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

We are social investors who support democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once had newspapers. Learn more at and follow @knightfdn on social media.

City of Miami

The City of Miami is the dynamic municipality at the heart of Miami-Dade County, home to Greater Miami’s financial and cultural heart, and economic engines such as PortMiami. Established in 1896, Miami has grown to become South Florida’s largest city by population and serves as the county seat. Today, the City of Miami proudly continues to provide core municipal services to its diverse population, from public safety to parks, as well as forward-looking initiatives like climate resilience. To learn more, visit

 Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County is Florida’s most populous county, with approximately 2.8 million residents and covering an area of more than 2,000 square miles. The County is divided into 34 municipalities, each with their own government providing city services like police and zoning to residents, in addition to more than one million residents living in the unincorporated area outside municipal boundaries.

 Miami Downtown Development Authority

The Miami DDA is an independent agency of the City of Miami funded by a special tax levy on properties in its district boundaries. It is governed by a 15-member Board comprised of three public appointees and 12 downtown property owners, residents and/or workers who are tasked with overseeing the direction of the agency and setting policy. The agency is committed to grow, strengthen and promote the economic health and vitality of downtown Miami. As an autonomous agency of the City of Miami, the Miami DDA advocates, facilitates, plans, and executes business development, planning and capital improvements, and marketing and communication strategies. Visit for more information.

About Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College is the most diverse institution in the nation. There are 167 nations and 63 languages represented in its student body. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree pathways including associate and baccalaureate degrees, career certificates and apprenticeships. Baccalaureate degree offerings include biological sciences, engineering, data analytics, information systems technology, education, public safety, supervision and management, nursing, physician assistant studies, film and others.  MDC is the recipient of many top national awards including the Aspen Prize. As Democracy’s College, MDC changes lives through accessible, high quality-teaching and learning experiences.  It is the home of the Miami Culinary Institute, the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex, the Miami Fashion Institute, the Eig-Watson School of Aviation, The Idea Center, the Cybersecurity Center of the Americas, the Cloud Computing Center, the Center for Learning, Innovation and Simulation, the School for Advanced Studies, and the New World School of the Arts, to name a few of its most innovative programs.  MDC has been named among the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For” since the program’s inception.  The College embraces its responsibility to serve as an economic, cultural, and civic leader for the advancement of our diverse global community. Its alumni and employees contribute more than $3 billion annually to the local economy, and MDC graduates occupy top leadership positions in every major industry. MDC is renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is the home of the Miami Book Fair, Miami Film Festival, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, the Tower Theater, Dyer Building, Koubek Center Mansion and Gardens, Live Arts Miami at MDC, the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives, the Museum of Art and Design, a sculpture park and a large campus art gallery and theater system.  MDC has admitted more than 2.5 million students and counting, since it opened its doors in 1960. Approximately 120,000 students are currently enrolled. For more information, visit