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CCRI celebrates graduates from first Youth Boatbuilding workforce initiative

Aug. 2, 2019

The Community College of Rhode Island, in partnership with the Westerly Education Center and the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA), will host a graduation ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at Ninigret Park in Charlestown, RI, to celebrate the 13 students who have completed CCRI’s inaugural Youth Summer Boatbuilding Program.

CCRI teamed with RIMTA this year to pilot its own Youth Summer Boatbuilding Program, modeled after the successful workforce training initiative originally launched by RIMTA in 2015. Developed to introduce 14- to 16-year-old students to the boating industry in Westerly and surrounding areas, the five-week program incorporates work experiences, career exploration, leadership development, adult mentoring, basic skills development and job readiness services.

Graduation begins at 9:15 a.m. at Ninigret Park’s saltwater pond. Parents, higher-education officials, RIMTA staff, program donors and community members will gather to congratulate the students and watch them launch their boats.

“Our new summer program aimed toward youth boating and engineering enthusiasts is an important step in CCRI’s continuous efforts to boost workforce development in Rhode Island,” said CCRI’s vice president of Workforce Partnership Julian L. Alssid. “Students in this program learn a number of important trades, from reading blueprints to using tools safely and properly, and will graduate with a new set of hands-on skills as they prepare to continue or begin their high school education.”

RIMTA represents all aspects of recreational boating in Rhode Island through advocacy, education and promotion while positioning the state as a worldwide leader in the marine industry. In its efforts to collaborate with educators and cultivate a skilled workforce, RIMTA launched its Youth Summer Boatbuilding Program four years ago for youth interested in learning more about marine trades. With support from Real Jobs RI, the program has expanded to include workshops in Bristol, Newport and North Providence. More information is available at

Founded in 2017, the Westerly Education Center is a public-private collaboration designed to bring together higher education, business, industry and community partners to provide high-quality educational programs to meet projected workforce growth in the region.

“This is Westerly Education Center’s second year working with RIMTA and CCRI to offer training in boat-building and marine trades skills,” said Westerly Education Center executive director Amy Grzybowski. “This industry is critical to the Ocean State, and it’s our hope that programs like this one will ignite passion among youth to learn more and consider careers in the marine trades.”

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