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The Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce presents its latest Business Empowerment Networking Series (BENS) installment, Business Development: Expanding your Financial & Economic Growth Opportunities. The session will be held at Parrot Jungle on Friday, March 26, 2010 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This networking series will feature a panel discussion on how to expand financial and economic growth to businesses that will include prominent business leaders in Miami-Dade County.

The luncheon will feature keynote speaker, Bernadette Morris, CEO/President of Sonshine Communications, Inc., a full-service Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations firm. Morris is the owner of Black PR Wire, America’s first and largest black news media distribution service. She has had over 25 years of experience in the communications arena. Morris was previously the Associate Dean and Public Affairs Director for Miami-Dade College, a children’s programming producer and a writer and producer with PBS/NPR affiliates.

City Year Miami, the local chapter of a national organization that unites diverse groups of young people to devote full-time service in the nations most challenged public schools, will honor Miami Dade College president, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrn, during its Red Jacket Ball Inaugural Gala on Saturday, March 19, 2010, at the Eden Roc Beach Resort and Spa in Miami Beach.

Dr. Padrn is being recognized for his leadership in service to the community. The organization will also honor Tracy Mourning, local philanthropist and wife of retired NBA star Alonzo Mourning. This years gala is expected to bring together hundreds of Miami's leading community and corporate champions to celebrate the 82 young leaders of City Year in Miami-Dade County who give a year to work in some of the citys most challenged schools as tutors, mentors and role models.

Governor Charlie Crist today announced that the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, in partnership with the Florida Department of Children and Families, Workforce Florida Inc., and the Regional Workforce Boards, will receive its first installment of $61.2 million of funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service in the $200 million Florida Back to Work initiative. Distributions of the remaining funds will follow.

In conjunction with National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 7-13, NeighborWorks® America and its growing coalition of national government agencies, nonprofit organizations and financial institutions are empowering homeowners to combat loan modification scams. The effort is an extension of the organization’s national Loan Modification Scam Alert campaign, designed to help homeowners protect themselves against loan modification scams, find trusted help and report illegal activity to authorities. NeighborWorks America is an official partner of NCPW, a coordinated consumer education campaign that encourages individuals across the country to take full advantage of their consumer rights.

An estimated 4.5 million Americans are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. While many will seek relief in the form of loan modification services, too many will instead become victims of scams. “Foreclosure rates in America are now at an all-time high and so is the need for help,” said Kenneth D. Wade, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks America. “This National Consumer Protection Week, NeighborWorks is urging community groups and businesses across the nation to join in the effort to educate homeowners about how they can guard against loan modification scams—a fast-spreading epidemic in need of immediate attention.”