Teens learn boat building through collaborative effort with CCRI, RIMTA

STUDENTS GRADUATING FROM the Youth Summer Boatbuilding class gather for a ceremony at Ninigret Park in Charlestown with, from left, Matthew Thayer, an instructor in the Workforce Partnership Department at the Community College of Rhode Island; Cody Fino, Westerly Education Center coordinator; and CCRI Vice President of Workforce Partnership Julian L. Alssid. / COURTESY COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF RHODE ISLAND

PROVIDENCE – Thirteen students have completed the Community College of Rhode Island’s inaugural Youth Summer Boatbuilding class.

In cooperation with Westerly Education Center and the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, a graduation ceremony was held at Ninigret Park in Charlestown last month, according to a CCRI news release.

The program was a collaboration of the college and the trades association, modeled after a RIMTA-designed workforce-training initiative from 2015. The five-week program is designed to introduce 14- to 16-year-olds to the boating industry with career exploration, skills development and job-readiness services, according to CCRI.

“Students in this program learn a number of important trades, from reading blueprints to using tools safely and properly, and … graduate with a new set of hands-on skills as they prepare to continue or begin their high school education,” said CCRI Vice President of Workforce Partnership Julian L. Alssid.

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The trades association works to collaborate with educators and cultivate a skilled workforce. With support from Real Jobs Rhode Island, the program has expanded to include workshops in Bristol, Newport and North Providence.

Founded in 2017, the public-private Westerly Education Center is designed to provide educational programs that meet the needs of projected workforce growth.

“It’s our hope that programs [such as] this one will ignite passion among [youths] to learn more and consider careers in the marine trades,” said Westerly Education Center Executive Director Amy Grzybowski. “This industry is critical to the Ocean State.”

Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.

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