Month: August 2015

Second Cycle of NCCER Job Training Program Commences

St. Croix, USVI- The St. Croix Foundation for Community Development announces the commencement of its second National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) Youth Training and Beautification Program. The Program will run from May 4, 2015 to July, 2015, after which time, students will have a certification in hand and be work-ready. First launched in 2012, through a collaborative partnership between the Foundation and the V.I. Department of Labor this training program provides local unemployed young adults with core construction and work-related skills, as well as on-the-job training (OJT).

Cycle 2 students Denis Matthew, Vitalis Mathurin, Jr., Dwight Barker, and Kadeem Phoenix, were selected by the St. Croix Foundation and the Department of Labor to participate in this twelve (12) week learning program which is administered using best standards & practices set by the (NCCER).  Upon successfully passing the NCCER test, each participant will become NCCER CORE Certified; which is a prerequisite to continue with the additional craft curriculum and the OJT phase of the program.

During Phase 1 of the Program students received classroom based instruction provided by Mr. Gregory Christian of Penntium Technical Training, located in Peter’s Rest.  The curriculum included practical, in depth education on basic safety knowledge, “safe-work” practices, proper use of hazardous materials and machinery, and the usage of construction materials and supplies. NCCER training also provided students basic communication and interpersonal skills, how to interpret construction designs, and critical thinking skills to prepare them for the real workforce.

Over the course of the program, students will put their new skills to work under the supervision of Contractor Dennis Smith who serves as their OJT instructor. Mr. DeAndre Harris, NCCER Core Certified and training program alum, has also returned to serve as a foreman and mentor to our students.

For their first OJT project, they are painting the exterior walls of some historic properties throughout downtown Christiansted, including, Joe’s Tailoring, 1101 King Street (former People’s Drugstore), and the Christiansted Lutheran Church. The Foundation is delighted to assist the Church with their restoration activities in preparation of their 150th Anniversary slated for 2016. According to St. Croix Foundation Program Officer, Ms. Jermaine Connor, “The NCCER Program will not only provide these young men with a paid summer job opportunity, but will also provide the beloved Christiansted properties with a long overdue facelift”.

Today, recognizing the critical need for more targeted job opportunities for our community’s youth, the Foundation encourages the private sector, corporate citizens, and local government agencies to partner with them, by offering full –time employment opportunities to students once the training program is complete. The St. Croix Foundation is also seeking to expand the program throughout the Territory by securing additional funding to provide more rigorous training for a larger pool of young men and women seeking to tap into a broader range of professional fields.

For more information on how to support this Initiative, contact the St. Croix Foundation at 340.773.9898.


Celebrity Chefs for 2015 St. Croix Food & Wine Experience Announced


St. Croix, US Virgin Islands – April 2015 – The St. Croix Foundation announces the start of St. Croix Food & Wine Experience, 2015.  This culinary, wine and spirits festival held in the US Virgin Islands, is scheduled to run from Sunday April 12 through Saturday, April 18. The weeklong event will consist of an impressive roster of guest chefs including well-known TV personalities, cookbook authors, James Beard winners and corporate chefs.

Guest chefs will participate in multiple events during the culinary series, working alongside students from the Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC) culinary program as well as with local chefs. Through a deepening partnership with the Department of Tourism, the event also brings to the Territory a variety of travel writers, bloggers and media representatives, expanding St. Croix’s national and international position as a culinary and tourism market.

As an outgrowth of the wildly successful, A Taste of St. Croix, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, funds raised from the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience support the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development, enabling the Foundation to continue its work in the areas of community revitalization, public safety, public education, and economic development.

According to St. Croix Foundation’s Executive Director, Deanna James, “Beyond, being a fundraiser for the Foundation, the Food and Wine Experience is also—at the core, a celebration of the rich culinary industry in the Territory.” “Named one of the top 10 international food and wine events by Forbes, the event features a majority of St. Croix’s restaurants and wine purveyors, giving guests an unprecedented opportunity to really get a taste of local cuisine,” James continued.

The line-up of guest chefs for the 2015 St. Croix Food & Wine Experience includes:

Tony Castellucci – Executive Chef at Facebook and third time participant in the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience.

Sam Choy – Author, James Beard winner, restaurateur, Iron Chef winner, TV personality, “Godfather of Poke,” and the ambassador for Hawaiian cuisine. 

Tiffany Derry – TV personality, national spokesperson for the Art Institute’s Culinary Arts Program, Top Chefs All Stars fan favorite and finalist, most recently appearing on Spike TV’s Hungry Investors and Bar Rescue.

Duff Goldman (Ace of Cakes) – Founder of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore and Los Angeles, Chef Goldman starred in Food Network’s Ace of Cakes, a reality show named after his bakery, and now hosts his current hit, Duff Till Dawn.

Kevin FonzoOwner and Executive Chef of K Wine Bar, a James Beard nominee and acclaimed by Zagat and Bon Appetit, Fonzo is also known for his extensive work with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to Schools and the Edible Schoolyard.

Ray Lampe (Dr. BBQ) – Author, expert Judge on Travel Channel’s “American Grilled” and “World Food Championships,” frequent TV show guest and the newest inductee to the BBQ Hall of Fame.

Dean Spinks – Executive Chef at Facebook and third time participant in the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience.

Guest chefs of the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience participate in at least three events during the week, which range from relaxed to elegant options for foodies. Guest wine makers, spirit companies and breweries are paired with each event. The 2015 schedule of events is:

Sunday, April 12Cuisine on the Green golf tournament and tasting (at Carambola Golf Club)

Tuesday, April 14

  • Gourmet Vintner Dinner (at Tutto Bene) featuring Chef Tiffany Derry
  • City Crawl (Christiansted dine around) featuring Cafe Christine, Rum Runners, and desserts by Chef Duff Goldman at Zion Modern Kitchen

Wednesday, April 15

  • Icing on the Cake, held at the Buccaneer for an intimate cake decorating class with Duff Goldman
  • Food Fight on the Beach with Chefs Sam Choy, Dr. BBQ, and Dean Spinks (at Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa)

Thursday, April 16 – A Taste of St. Croix (15th Anniversary Celebration) at the Divi Carina Bay Resort

Friday, April 17

  • Intimate Cork & Fork dinners featuring Chef Tony Castellucci and the St. Croix Culinary Juniors, Kevin Fonzo and Digby Stridiron
  • Sunset BBQ (on the Frederiksted Pier) featuring Sam Choy, Billy Desimone, Dr. BBQ,  Dean Spinks, and Chef Doos with the culinary students from the St. Croix Educational Complex

Saturday, April 18

  • Kids Cooking Event (at Pearl B. Larsen) with Chefs Ashley McKinnon and Frank Robinson
  • Wine in the Warehouse (at Leeward Islands Warehouse) fine wine tasting and appetizers
  • Food & Wine Experience has also led to the development of a dynamic Culinary Internship Program that provides St. Croix youth annual spring internships at participating guest chefs’ establishments. To date, CTEC students have interned at Facebook’s Headquarters in Silicon Valley California- an opportunity which translated into full-time jobs in California for the first two interns in 2014. Two more interns recently returned from a three week internship, which included a two week stint at Facebook and one week in Hawaii at the restaurant of James Beard award winner, Sam Choy. Next year, a lucky student will intern at the world famous bakery of guest chef Duff Goldman, Charm City Cakes.

“Despite St. Croix’s economy and declining population, the Foundation is grateful to all the organizations and individuals that sponsor the Food & Wine Experience, and to the guests who return each year to make this the preeminent food and wine event in the Caribbean,” stated James. “Even more consequential than the fact that most of the events in this year’s line-up are sold out, is the fact that the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience is now providing rich career pathways for local youth and in turn opening doors and transforming lives,” she concluded.

For information about tickets, events, and sponsorship visit or call the Foundation at 340-773-9898.

Major sponsors of St. Croix Food & Wine Experience, 2015 are U.S Virgin Islands’ Tourism; Leeward Islands Management Company; Divi Carina Bay; Glazer’s Premier Distributors, LLC; Reliable Rentals; Crucian Point; Innovative; H. Douglas & Jeannine Schrock; Seaborne Airlines; The Buccaneer; and Team Consultants.