The application for our 2019 PrepareRI Summer Internship Program is now OPEN! All public high school juniors are encouraged to apply for one of 300 available internship spots summer 2019! Get ready to EARN, LEARN & CONNECT! https://bit.ly/2ragAB8
The application for our 2019 PrepareRI Summer Internship Program is now OPEN! All public high school juniors are encouraged to apply for one of 300 available internship spots summer 2019! Get ready to EARN, LEARN & CONNECT! https://bit.ly/2ragAB8
WESTERLY — Greg Viveiros wasn’t sure what to do when Toys R Us went out of business in June, putting an end to his three years as an assistant store manager.
The Warwick resident talked with his wife and the couple agreed that he would take the summer to research his options. “I knew I wanted a career, not just a job,” he said in an interview on Thursday.
In time he learned about a process technology class that was due to start in the fall at the Westerly Education Center. He applied, was accepted, and on Friday completed week six of the 10-week program. Process technology refers to functions and skills common in a variety of industries. The 300-hour program covers chemical processing, sampling and measuring; fluid mechanics; computer control and monitoring systems; basic electricity, pump and valve operations and the basics of material engineering.
On Friday an audience of more than 100 gathered at the Friendship Street facility to celebrate the addition of chemistry and biology labs at the center. The labs are used by the process technology students and instructors. The biology lab will allow the center to expand its course offerings to include the Community College of Rhode Island’s Oceanography, Biology in the Modern World and general geology classes that are set to start in January.
Completion of the labs represents a significant milestone for the education center, which has become a national model, said Brenda Dann-Messier, state commissioner for postsecondary education. The center has created “a pipeline of trained Rhode Islanders to meet the workforce needs of employers and provide well-paying full-time jobs for our residents … and better jobs leads to a better economy,” Messier said.
Under the leadership of Thomas M. Sabbagh, dean of business, science, technology and math, CCRI developed the curriculum for the process technology program. Sabbagh is also credited with playing a significant role in the education center success in winning a Real Jobs Partnership grant for the program, which is offered for free to students.
Although the program is a non-credit offering, Sabbagh said the curriculum was subject to the same type of review and input from the college’s faculty and administration that for-credit courses receive.
“This is only the beginning. Having state of the art labs means we can expand into lots of areas,” Sabbagh said.
Charles “Chuck” Royce, the mutual fund founder and community benefactor whose vision and financial generosity gave rise to creation of the education center, said he became convinced of the value of community colleges while serving on the board of Norwalk Community College in Connecticut. “We’d go through the halls and look into the classes and I realized these folks are here because they want to be, not because they have to be…it was life changing for me,” Royce said.
CCRI and the state’s two other higher education institutions have a presence in the education center, which is also used by private colleges and universities, businesses, and the state Department of Labor and Training. Royce credited his lawyer, Thomas J. Liguori Jr., with helping to develop “the idea for flexible space that could be used for many institutions.”
At the age of 40, Viveiros is just about in the middle of the pack. Students in the process technology program range in age from 19 to 68. Viveiros acknowledged having a level of apprehension toward the beginning of the class.
“I was a little worried about going back to school after not going to college and being out of school for about 25 years, but once I got that first week done I kind of eased back into it,” Viveiros said.
The 16 students in the class were recruited by Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, a Providence-based statewide career readiness intermediary. The non-profit organization works with businesses and unemployed or underemployed residents in association with Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Workforce Board. The agency is currently recruiting individuals for the second cohort of the program.
The education center offers one-on-one remedial math assistance for students who need it, as well as counseling for students who might be anxious about returning to a classroom after a long absence from formal education. The counselors also help potential students find day care and transportation.
The math assistance and the counseling are provided by the Tricounty Community Action Agency. In short, the center tries to help with “anything that might be a barrier to being in a classroom for 10 weeks, five days a week,” said Beth Bailey, a spokeswoman for the education center.
Viveiros said he was initially interested in food processing but more recently has started to think about working at a brewery when he completes the course. But he is keeping his options open. “We’re continuing to take field trips and meet with the different businesses,” he said.
Amgen, Roger Williams Medical Center, Toray Plastics, Rhodes Pharmaceutical, Grey Sail Brewing, Kenyon Industries, Eurofins Lancaster Biopharma, Eurofins Spectrum Analytical, Tedor Pharma and Bradford Soapworks have all committed to hiring students who successfully complete the course. The companies helped formulate the curriculum. Students are visiting the businesses, and representatives of the companies come to the education center to meet with students.
As of Thursday, Viveiros and his fellow classmates had constructed mock tests to detect diseases using chromatography, a lab technique for the separation of mixtures; used a process control computer simulator; and learned how to use a spectrometer, a scientific instrument used to separate and measure spectral components.
The education center and the process technology course were both good choices, Viveiros said: “My wife says she hasn’t seen me this happy in years.”
Like Viveiros, Jennifer Brown said she wanted a career, not just a job, after her position reviewing mortgages at “a larger bank” was outsourced to another country in June. She had previously left the state’s once thriving jewelry industry, thinking banking was more stable, she said.
Brown, who lives in Warwick, learned of the process technology program through a listing on the state Department of Labor and Training website. She was intrigued, she said, by process technology’s application to a span of industries.
“I thought, wow, this one program could reach into all of these different directions? It’s not so finite that I’d be limited to going into the jewelry industry and designing again. I could go anywhere with this,” Brown said.
Private donors helped fund the construction of the labs and initial purchase of supplies. Grants were offered by Amgen, the Pfizer Foundation, the Westerly Lions Club, the Ocean Community Chamber Foundation, Royce Family Fund, The Washington Trust Foundation, Dime Bank Foundation, Scient Federal Credit Union, the Chelsea Groton Foundation and the Rhode Island Foundation.
The cost to build the two labs was $431,768, and the equipment cost $308,794. About 44 percent, or $327,100, came in grants and donations.
Amy Grzybowski, executive director of the education center, said that opening the labs was an important step.
“The teaching of science is critically important to America’s prosperity and the ability of our businesses to compete globally,” she said. “Providing courses in the sciences elevates the science, technology, engineering and math skills of our local workforce, and teaching labs are an absolute necessity for effective instruction. Because of the generosity of many, students at Westerly Education Center have modern, fully equipped chemistry and biology labs to learn and practice and prepare for their careers.”
Brown thanked the donors and the education center’s other supporters.
“To walk in here and see a facility so well stocked and to have the educational opportunity … this really is changing my future … I actually leave here at night and think to myself, how is this possible?” Brown said.
How do you get the message across that there are great employment opportunities in millwork, cabinets, furniture, and woodworking?
The best way is to show the workplace and its use of new technology. And to meet people who have had successful careers at companies that offer opportunities and advancement.
A recent event organized by industry, associations, and education achieved that and more.
The idea for the event was developed by Chris Hofmann, Woodworking Machinery Industry Association’s Education Committee chairman and U.S. Lamello product manager for Colonial Saw. WMIA organized the event with the help of Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, and Herrick & White, a Cumberland, Rhode Island, a manufacturer of architectural millwork, which hosted the meeting and provided tours as well.
Initially, Hofmann wanted to develop a live trade show-type event.
“When I was appointed chair of the WMIA Education Committee, I had a vision for developing something like a condensed trade show environment that would involve vocational high school students, educators, hopefully parents, industry vendors, and all the while also be centered around an engaging tour of a contemporary, dynamic shop,” he said.
“We found a great partner in Herrick & White to launch this concept for our inaugural event and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. Feedback from the students and educators was terrific. By introducing the students to the shop environment, industry vendors, and post-secondary woodworking schools, we gave them a great cross-section of many available opportunities all in the span of about two hours per school.
Hofmann said there were five schools that participated, including 80 students. WMIA is in the planning stages for a similar event in Massachusetts for the spring of 2019. Once that second event is complete, he said they are going to work to create nationwide events multiple times per year.
Another participant, Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, is an organization that provides high school students with paid summer work-based internships. The program connects education with the workplace, allowing students to learn about a job they may want to pursue.
Ken Bertram, president of Herrick & White, said that he and Hofmann had earlier discussed the need to change the perception of the woodworking industry, which led to the open house concept at his architectural millwork company.
“We have been working with schools over the past several years, bringing in student interns for the purpose of bringing youth into the industry,” he said. “This was a great opportunity to capture many students at one event.”
Bertram said that people have the perception of the woodworking industry as a couple of guys in a garage covered in dust and missing some digits. This perception makes it more challenging to find employees.
Also, there is little emphasis on the trades in school.
“Primarily kids are guided towards college,” Bertram said. “The schools have had their vocational programs decimated by budget cuts so the kids that actually want to pursue a vocation don’t get the level of experience necessary or the building (of) enthusiasm for the trade. One of the goals of this event is to start to change the perception and make woodwork manufacturing an enticing opportunity for the future workforce.”
Bertram said that Herrick and White wanted to demonstrate that woodwork manufacturing reaches far beyond assembling a cabinet at a bench, and that there are career opportunities available, such as supervision, engineering, estimating, project management, accounting, sales and marketing.
“We wanted them to understand that if they came in with drive and a great attitude they can enter a trade right out of school and then develop their career in a direction they choose,” he said.
Partnering with industry
Larry Hoffer, WMIA president and CEO, said that the asscoaition’s member companies are also involved in this effort.
“Many WMIA-member companies pursue different avenues to solve the skills shortage, such as partnering with local VAs to find employees and developing internships with schools in their area,” Hoffer said. “On the whole, WMIA is part of WIRC, the Wood Industry Resource Collaborative, a multi-association collaboration that is working to bridge the skills gap by changing the perception of the industry among the next generation, their parents, and school counselors.
“(At this event) the students had the chance to better understand the diversity of the woodworking industry, the different machines and software used and the philosophies behind them, and they had the opportunity to talk with professionals currently working in the industry, to see what career paths might be available to them and how they might pursue them.”
WMIA is working on another open house in early 2019. “It is our goal to hold at least four of these events next year, and eventually create a prototype that our members can utilize in their own communities by partnering with vendors and schools in their area,” Hoffer said.
View from education
One of the schools participating in the event was the Woonsocket Area Career and Tech Center. Charlie Myers teaches Architectural Construction Technology, and has been an instructor there for 21 years.
“We do not have any woodworking programs anywhere with the Woonsocket Education system at any age or level,” he said. “We will work on a woodworking project on an individual basis if a student would like to build a bookcase or shelf but the program was not recruiting enough students to keep it active.
“The wood shop classes in the middle schools have also been eliminated when the teachers retired. The wood shop class in the high school has also been chopped. There is no longer any exposure to any trades until a student goes on a tour in the ninth grade. It is difficult to demonstrate all of the possible career paths in construction in a seven-minute time limit.”
Myers said he really enjoyed this event, and six students filled out an application to work there.
“This is a career that they had not considered before the tour,” he said. “I believe they finally saw a combination of skills and artistry in the projects being made there. They were also excited that two former graduates had worked their way from the entry level to an ownership level.
“I believe they saw a career where they can advance within a company and support themselves as adults. I think this is what they are looking for. A means to support themselves and their families as their skills improve….so will their income. I do not believe they have seen any examples of this in their employment so far and they were excited!”
Herrick & White president Ken Bertram showed a video to each group and described the history of the company, which started in 1977 and makes high-end specialized architectural millwork.
The company has many highly skilled and experienced longtime employees, but Bertram said that 10 percent of the current workforce.
“We are committed to growing our own workforce,” he said.
Company representatives emphasized to students that there were great opportunities for growth and promotion within the company, and offered their own experiences of holding many different positions as examples.
Gary Rousseau, executive vice president of sales and marketing, outlined his experience from Woonsocket Vocational to Herrick & White, dating back to 1979. He ran the shop, purchasing, and sales and marketing. “They gave me confidence,” he said. “And every day is a new adventure.”
Steve Brannigan is executive vice president of finance and chief financial officer, and also has had a long career at the company with many different positions. He said it is about much more than woodworking. “I have done every position in this company,” he said. He believes students today have the same opportunity he did, and Herrick and White is dedicated to growing their own talent.
In the shop, students saw the engineering department and saw how project management was handled from planning to installation.
They looked at the process beginning with rough lumber, cutting and machining, and assembly and fabrication.
In the shop were a Holzma panel saw, Anderson Exxact CNC router, Brandt edgebander and SawStop table saws. Of special interest to students was a Weeke Optimat BHP 008 CNC machining center, demonstrating the technology used in wood products manufacturing today.
A group of industry organizations and companies was also present at the event, and visiting students could meet and ask questions of any of the representatives.
In addition to WMIA, the Woodwork Career Alliance was present, along with Colonial Saw, Stiles Machinery, KCD Software, Weinig-Holz-Her, SawStop, Cabinet Vision and Atlantic Machinery.
Herrick & White actually received one application from a student the day of the event, and several more students said they would apply and many took applications with them.
“I expect we’ll pick up a couple of student interns in the short term,” said Ken Bertram. “I expect our summer intern program will have several more applications, and more students will pursue woodworking as a career choice then before the event.”
“This mission to expose the youth to the modern day woodwork manufacturing environment is imperative for the future of the industry. Great job from Skills for Rhode Island’s Future and WMIA for pulling it all together!”
By Jennie Sparandara
Posted Jun 29, 2018 at 5:50 PM
Earlier this year, more than 100 educators and business leaders from Rhode Island and across the country met in Providence to talk about preparing students to succeed after high school and in their career.
During this national convening on career readiness, Ty’Rell Stephens, an 11th grader at Juanita Sanchez High School in Providence, talked about the opportunities he has access to in high school, and how they have increased significantly since his freshman year. Ty’Rell is participating in the community development career pathway at his school and will earn several college credits before he graduates.
Through the PrepareRI initiative, Ty’Rell’s experience is being replicated at schools across Rhode Island, with more students than ever are earning college credits, tackling advanced coursework, and gaining hands-on work experience that will set them on a path to postsecondary success.
Hearing about gatherings like the one in Providence reaffirms for me the importance of involving industry leaders in the design of education. My company, JPMorgan Chase, is working in Rhode Island and nine other states through a $75 million initiative called New Skills for Youth. We developed New Skills for Youth in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE, and Education Strategy Group. The effort includes a $35 million investment in states to strengthen career readiness approaches, giving students multiple pathways to training and education beyond high school.
Career pathways — which include anything from health sciences to business administration to agriculture — allow students to build real-world skills, explore career opportunities and find a career path that they are passionate about before they begin college.
One of the pathways educators and business leaders have teamed up on is the newly created process technician pathway, which will prepare students to enter an Environmental and Life Sciences program at the post-secondary level and to be job ready as a process technician, a job that earns an average of $24 per hour in Rhode Island. The pathway was created in partnership with higher education officials and leaders from several of the state’s largest biomedical and pharmaceutical employers in response to their industry’s needs. It combines academic requirements such as life sciences, chemistry and math, with safety training, industry credentials, and internships.
At the Providence convening, participants were able to see these kinds of innovative efforts in action on a tour to the Davies Career and Technical High School, which houses the nation’s first in-school mock CVS pharmacy. Davies designed this in partnership with CVS to give students hands-on training by the time they graduate from high school. Many of these students have summer jobs with CVS and plan to continue their pharmacy studies after high school.
Additionally, this summer, the PrepareRI Internship Program will kick off its pilot year by training and placing at least 100 students in paid internships with the state’s top employers in a range of industries. With funding from the Governor’s Workforce Board, and support from our New Skills for Youth initiative, the team in Rhode Island brought in an intermediary, Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, to facilitate the internship program and to help forge stronger connections between education and industry.
Career pathways and internship programs like the ones here in Rhode Island have real-world positive impacts on students. Research and anecdotal evidence show us that investing in career readiness is good for students. In fact, 75 percent of students who complete a career pathway go on to enroll in college. But this work is good for businesses, too; it’s a win-win. Industry leaders know that the jobs they need to fill require skilled workers.
Why not take an active role in training that next generation of employees?
If you’re a business leader in Rhode Island, I challenge you to think about how you can support students like Ty’Rell and the great work already happening in your state’s schools. Whether your investment is with money, advice or time, I urge you to learn more about PrepareRI and contact the team at Skills for Rhode Island’s Future to figure out your first step.
Jennie Sparandara is the executive director of global philanthropy for JPMorgan Chase.
Thanks to the Providence Journal for coming out last week to see what the Skills RI and PrepareRI work-readiness bootcamp was all about:
PROVIDENCE — Imagine having to sell yourself in three minutes. It’s called an elevator pitch and it’s an exercise perfected by most business school students, marketers and salespeople.
On Friday, a dozen junior high school students squeezed into an overheated classroom at Rhode Island College and prepared to be critiqued.
They are part of a larger cohort of 150 juniors from Newport to North Providence who competed for summer jobs with some of Rhode Island’s best-known companies — CVS, Hasbro, Gilbane, Citizens Bank and others. During the past week, the students, who were selected from an applicant pool of 620 teenagers, participated in a boot camp where they learned business skills, among them, public speaking, problem-solving, effective communication and so on.
The program is sponsored by PrepareRI and offers juniors paid six- to eight-week internships.
The camp culminated with Friday’s elevator pitch, an opportunity for teenagers to describe their strengths, which they had previously identified by taking a 170-question survey.
Janessa Diaz, a junior at Rogers High School in Newport, said she was surprised to learn that what she thought were her weaknesses — strong communications skills, empathy — were actually her strengths.
Nina Pande, executive director of Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, the group that organized the summer internship program, and Kiara Butler, CEO of Diversity Talks, provided constructive feedback.
“I know you know this material,” Pande said to Diaz, who was nervous. “Own it.”
“There were moments when you were looking for words,” Butler added. “Tell me a story.”
Daniela Acarapi of North Providence, a recent arrival from Bolivia, did just that.
When a family couldn’t pull together enough money for their daughter’s hip surgery, Acarapi and a friend began fundraising. Although they fell short of their goal, she said the challenge was a lesson in setting goals.
She also described a less successful effort to master English, where she had to swallow her pride and ask for help. After her speech, Butler said, “I liked your level of vulnerability.”
“But I was distracted by the slides,” said Pande, who then encouraged Acarapi to use her bilingualism as an asset.
Jenny King of Lincoln High School said she was disappointed that so many of her strengths fell within one category, the softer skills. None were in strategic thinking. Armed with this knowledge, she is now considering a career in communications. Butler urged her to use the full five minutes allotted for her pitch, while Pande said she left some important information on the table.
After the pitches were over, several students shared their biggest takeaway from boot camp. They all agreed that the sessions devoted to discovering their strengths were the most helpful.
Cameron Borges, who plans to become a software developer, said he felt honored to be here, calling the opportunity “a blessing for me.”
“I love to succeed,” the Newport teenager said. “Finding out that that was my biggest talent was the most wonderful experience.”
Ethan Savoie, of North Smithfield, said the boot camp pushed him out of his middle-class comfort zone.
“I was sitting alone and a few girls of color wanted to know if I’d sit with them,” he said. “We talked about how they live. There were differences but there were also similarities in our lives.”
David Cournoyer wants to be a flight nurse. During boot camp, he had a chance to speak with two top executives from CVS, who told him that the company offers nursing scholarships. That conversation and the whole concept of networking was a revelation.
“I’m going to try and get one of those.”
The program, in its first year, is funded by grants from the Governor’s Workforce Board and New Skills for Youth.
Skills for Rhode Island’s Future received the Workforce System Innovation Award during last night’s Annual Meeting of the Governor’s Workforce Board. We are honored to be recognized by the GWB and privileged to play a role in some of the exciting workforce initiatives happening around this great state!
A tremendous thank you to Steer PVD and Capital Conduit for helping Skills for Rhode Island’s Future tell the story of Elvis Regalado – one of the 500 Achievers we have placed in the last 18 months. Also featured is General Dynamics Electric Boat – one of the early believers in Skills RI’s mission and work.
You can view Elvis’ video here
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – This summer, through the PrepareRI Internship Program, 100 high school students will gain hands-on work experience at some of Rhode Island’s leading employers, in industries like technology, health care, finance, and education. The application is now open, and students selected to participate will jumpstart their careers through professional skills training, on-the-job experience, and connections to adult mentors who can help them achieve their career goals.
“Seventy percent of jobs in Rhode Island will require some form of postsecondary education or training, making work-based learning a critical piece of our workforce development strategy,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “The PrepareRI Internship Program builds a strong talent pipeline for Rhode Island businesses and gives our young people a head start, allowing them to hone soft skills and learn on the job so they are better prepared for success after high school.”
Summer 2018 is the pilot year for PrepareRI Internships, an initiative of the Governor’s Workforce Board that is being managed by an independent intermediary, Skills for Rhode Island’s Future (SkillsRI). SkillsRI will vet and match rising high school seniors to internship opportunities after the application period closes on April 15.
“For the past few years, more and more employers have expressed concerns about not having enough skilled talent in Rhode Island. The GWB is thrilled to see the overwhelming response from employers to host high school interns and invest in the workforce of their future,” said Heather Hudson, Executive Director of the Governor’s Workforce Board. “Providing our young people with access to real-life work experiences and professional mentors right here in Rhode Island will build their skillsets for good paying jobs, which will in turn enable our businesses to thrive.”
The PrepareRI Internship program fits into the state’s overall Prepare Rhode Island initiative on career readiness. Rhode Island was one of only 10 states to receive a New Skills for Youth grant from JPMorgan Chase and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to support career education for all youth.
For employers, the PrepareRI Internship program responds to concerns about the lack of skilled talent by building a pipeline of young, diverse, skilled workers who can keep RI’s future economy vibrant and strong. More than 20 employers have signed on to the effort, including Citizens Bank, Amgen, Hasbro, CVS, and Gilbane.
Tom Giordano, Executive Director of The Partnership for Rhode Island, a coalition of Rhode Island business leaders commented, “The Partnership for Rhode Island is excited to host high school interns in our companies across the state and support their attainment of college credit. This program strengthens our state’s talent pipeline and gives high school students the type of professional experience that is usually reserved for budding college graduates. We applaud the Governor, the GWB and Roger Williams University for their ingenuity and hard work in developing this program and look forward to helping shape the next generation of young professionals.”
This program is a win for employers and students across Rhode Island. At Citizens Bank, we look forward to providing high school students with positive and stimulating learning experiences this summer. We are proud to be a champion employer in the PrepareRI Internship program and introduce young people to career opportunities in the state and at our company. – Barbara Cottam Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs, Citizens Bank
SkillsRI will work with employers to develop job descriptions and identify essential skills; and will vet, assess, and match student applicants to internships based on interests, required skills, and location. SkillsRI will prepare students for their work experiences through a week-long professional training on essential skills and expectations of the workplace. Additionally, SkillsRI will provide ongoing support to students and employer supervisors throughout the summer to ensure that all participants have a successful experience.
“As an organization with a proven record of demand-driven workforce solutions, the PrepareRI Internship program was a natural fit for SkillsRI. We are committed to building out career pathways for Rhode Islanders to strengthen our workforce and satisfy the needs of our employers,” said Nina Pande, Executive Director of Skills for Rhode Island’s Future.
The PrepareRI Internship program is open to all rising high school seniors in public high schools in Rhode Island. Applications must be completed online and are due April 15. After a week-long preparation training, student interns will work directly with employers for six to eight weeks, 25-35 hours per week. Interns will be paid for all hours worked.
For more information and a link to the student application, visit:
Mayor Elorza Praises State Hiring Initiative’s Job Placements, Employers’
Commitment to Hiring Unemployed Workers, at Skills RI HQs Ribbon Cutting
(June 14, 2017) When they helped launch Skills for Rhode Island’s Future (Skills RI) back in October, Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza talked about the “access gap” that often prevents qualified job seekers such as unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders from getting hired. Leveraging one’s personal and professional networks is key to getting a résumé to the top of the pile, but unfortunately, many skilled and motivated job seekers don’t have access to the networks needed to be viewed as a less risky hiring proposition. Raimondo and Elorza urged employers to view unemployed and underemployed workers as an untapped talent supply, poised to close the workforce skills gap.
In the eight months since, Rhode Island employers have responded in a big way, with 48 companies deciding to partner with Skills RI and hiring 90 formerly unemployed Rhode Islanders in a variety of positions. Skills RI is a public-private talent sourcing solution that helps businesses address their unmet hiring needs by matching them with a pool of immediately available, diverse candidates — applicants unemployed longer than six months — and flexible incentive programs helping them fill vacant positions quickly and cost-effectively.
“Skills RI is our missing link connecting the workers we are training to employers that are hiring,” Governor Raimondo said. This program helps talented, motivated applicants who often get overlooked for job opportunities. I’d like to thank the many Rhode Island employers that have stepped up and solved their workforce challenges by hiring 90 previously unemployed Rhode Islanders. I look forward to much more success in the months to come.”
“Working alongside Skills RI we are developing and implementing workforce strategies that will get Rhode Islanders to work,” said Mayor Elorza. “We look forward to continuing efforts with the state to connect people to good jobs and to respond to the hiring needs of employers.”
Skills RI provides full-service staffing solutions, from targeted recruitment to customized train-to-hire programs, for businesses with immediate and long-term hiring needs. Along with placing 90 Rhode Islanders in jobs and its employer partnerships, Skills RI has provided career enhancement services to 529 job seekers since October. Executive Director Nina Pande said “Skills RI is the final link to a job. We provide job seekers the opportunity to interview for roles, and provide the job ready services an unemployed or underemployed job seeker may be lacking.” As part of the agency’s growth plan, Skills RI plans to place 250 Rhode Islanders in jobs across all business industry sectors by the end of the year.
Mayor Elorza joined Department of Labor and Training Director Scott Jensen and Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) President Laurie White in cutting a ceremonial blue ribbon Wednesday night marking the opening of Skills RI’s new office space on the first floor of GPCC’s building at 30 Exchange Terrace in Providence. GPCC has incubated Skills RI, allowing it to use office space since October. Pande praised GPCC’s key support role while Skills RI established itself.
“I appreciate how the Rhode Island business community has supported Skills RI and in so doing, invested in local talent and energized our economy,” Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce President Laurie White said. “Serving on the Skills RI board, I see first-hand the benefits it delivers as a workforce intermediary and as a hiring solution. Along with Governor Raimondo and Mayor Elorza, I encourage business leaders in RI to work with Skills RI.”
“From the very early days of Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, I believed this demand-driven approach was the right way to tackle unemployment in Rhode Island,” said Skills RI founding Executive Director Nina Pande. “I’m thrilled that our office is now open for business and that we are fortunate enough to be in a central location so that we can reach employers and candidates state-wide.”
“The demand-driven model is effective because it starts with the end goal in mind – the jobs. It is clear that Rhode Island understands that at both a state and local level through their support of Skills for Rhode Island’s Future from the start. We are excited to have been a part of the development of Skills for Rhode Island’s Future and look forward to continuing to assist in their growth and local impact,” said Marie Trzupek Lynch, founding President & CEO of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future.
“As part of her skills policy agenda, Governor Raimondo has prioritized DLT helping long-term unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders get back to work,” said DLT Director Scott Jensen. “Skills RI aligns precisely with DLT’s mission, takes the time to understand employers’ often-complex hiring challenges, and is delivering in a very real way — as its record of success shows.”
About Skills for Rhode Island’s Future Skills for Rhode Island’s Future (Skills RI), established in 2016, is a nonprofit, public-private partnership committed to returning unemployed and underemployed job seekers to work by creating demand-driven solutions for employers. Skills RI meets the hiring needs of employers by connecting them with qualified job seekers and providing innovative, customized hiring solutions. Skills RI is led by Nina Pande, Executive Director, and governed by a 15-member business-focused Board of Directors led by founding Chairperson, William F. Hatfield, Bank of America’s RI Market President.
For more information, visit www.skillsforRI.com.
Statement from the Governor’s Office
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Gina M. Raimondo today released the following statement on Rhode Island’s latest jobs and unemployment data.
“Today’s report reinforces the need to remain tirelessly focused on building a strong and innovative 21st century economy by investing in the skills of our people and the competitiveness of our employers. Just yesterday, we launched Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, a model based on the success of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, which will make direct connections between the workers we are training and the businesses that are hiring.
“Participating employers, including Electric Boat, CVS Health, and Bank of America, have already committed to hire 150 unemployed workers through this initiative, and I encourage all Rhode Island employers to join them. The more employers who sign up, the more unemployed Rhode Islanders will get back to work and onto promising career pathways at quality companies. This is the type of collaboration we need to keep growing our economy.”
Read More: Governor’s Website