The Westerly Education Center today announced that it is a recipient of a $2,000 grant from The Washington Trust Charitable Foundation to support the modification of two classrooms into laboratories. A chemistry lab is necessary for the center’s new process technology workforce development program, and a biology lab is needed for biology courses offered by CCRI.
“We thank The Washington Trust Company for their ongoing support and investment in the mission of Westerly Education Center,” said Amy Grzybowski, executive director. “Constructing and supplying new teaching labs at the center are required to ensure that we deliver high-quality and meaningful instruction. Because of the bank’s steadfast dedication to improved education in the community, our students will learn on modern equipment used in the workplaces where they will begin their careers.”
“We are thrilled to support the Westerly Education Center and its commitment to providing access to quality education,” said Edward O. Handy III, Chairman and CEO of The Washington Trust Company. “Washington Trust is dedicated to the communities that we serve and working towards the common goal of creating a positive future for all.”
Employers in diverse industries share a need for process technicians, a term for a career in controlling the mixture of ingredients and their resulting output. Few job candidates possess the baseline skills necessary for careers in pharmaceuticals manufacturing, brewing, medical research, and textile manufacturing to name a few. Local employers struggle to find qualified individuals to fill open process technician positions, and they face long-term shortages in this career path by retiring Baby Boomers. Westerly Education Center, together with several partners, have created a training program in process technology, which will begin in September.
Partners in the development of training include: Amgen, Grey Sail Brewing, Toray, Kenyon Industries, Roger Williams Medical Center, Thielsch Engineering, Eurofins Lancaster Biopharma, Eurofins Spectrum Analytical, Rhodes Pharmaceutical and Tedor Pharma. The curriculum will be created and taught by Community College of Rhode Island faculty with the University of Rhode Island serving as evaluator. This grant’s other partners include: Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, Rhode Island Department of Education, Building Futures RI, Williams M. Davies, Jr. Career & Technical High School, and Westerly High School.
R.I. Sen. Dennis L. Algiere (left), Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer, Director of Community Affairs, The Washington Trust Company; Amy Grzybowski, Executive Director, Westerly Education Center; and Edward O. “Ned” Handy, III, (right) Chairman and CEO, Washington Trust Bancorp. Inc. at the check presentation.