WOONSOCKET — A new job training and higher education center, modeled after the Westerly Education Center, is opening in Woonsocket. Gov. Gina M. Raimondo made the announcement on Tuesday and said four employer partners — Amica, CVS Health, Fidelity, and AAA Northeast, would help to develop the training programs. It will be called the Northern Rhode Island Higher Education Center. A location has yet to be selected.
“America’s Industrial Revolution was sparked in Northern Rhode Island and the Blackstone Valley. As we rebuild and strengthen our new economy, Woonsocket is positioned once again to play a big role in training people for good-paying, middle class jobs,” Raimondo said. She included $4 million in her budget proposal for the center, which was approved by the legislature.
The governor’s office said that the state has revamped the way it does job training and now works directly with employers. Over the last 18 months, the Westerly Education Center has educated more than 1,000 students in 71 workforce development course cohorts that have prepared them for jobs in industries that include shipbuilding, call center and sales, financial services and health care.
AAA Northeast’s programs will support its need for call center bilingualism, leadership training, data analytics and travel/tourism. Amica is also interested in call center services, and leadership training.
CVS Health will train pharmacy technicians, and prepare others or jobs for data analytics and IT. Individuals with disabilities will be trained in a mock retail store. Fidelity has identified needs in data analytics and IT/cyber and will partner with Bryant University's Executive Development Center to train new hires.
“Our Westerly Education Center is living proof that public and private resources in higher education, industry and social services can unite to create solutions benefiting workers and employers alike,” said Brenda Dann-Messier, state commissioner of postsecondary education.