Press Releases

April 13, 2018

The gift will be used for science laboratories

The Westerly Education Center today announced that it is a recipient of a $10,290 gift from Westerly Lions Club. The club recently hosted a fundraiser at Knickerbocker Music Center and donated all the proceeds to the center.

“On behalf of the students and teachers who will use these labs, I want to thank the Westerly Lions Club for their generosity to the center and all we serve,” said Amy Grzybowski, executive director. “Your gift will help chemistry and biology students discover the wonders of science via tangible, hands-on experiences.”

“The Westerly Lions Club is honored to help further the mission of the Westerly Education Center,” said Jeff Sorensen, the fundraiser committee chairman. “The Education Center is an incredible asset to the greater Westerly community, and this project gave the Lions an opportunity to exhibit our motto, “We Serve!”

Local business supporting the fundraising effort with the donation of prizes included: Hilltop Café, Vesta Bakery, Knickerbocker, Savoy Bookstore Café, Savoy Bookstore, Twisted Vine, Brazen Hen, Dunns Corner Market, Pizza Place, Two Little Fish, Cooked Goose, Bogues Alley. Subway, 84 Tavern on Canal, Mario’s Pizza/Midway Pizza, Tapped Apple, Ally Katz, Micelli’s Furniture, Toscano’s Mens Clothing, Westerly Fitness, New England Airlines, Live Proper Chiropractic, Ridda-Bug Pest Control, United Builders Supply, Nigrelli Jewelry, Bella Vita Salon, Travelers Championship, Service Master by Mason, Eric Lutes, Flip Side, Casa Della Luce, Boston Red Sox, Mystic Aquarium, Paw Sox, Twin River Casino and Myrtle Beach golf.

The fundraising sponsors included: SeaSide Pharmacy, The Ocean House, The Royce Family Fund, The Weekapaug Inn, The Sorensen Family, Grey Sail Brewery, EVAS, The Westerly Lions Club, United Builders Supply, Sorensen & McCuin Contracting, Fenner Hill Country Club, Elmridge Country Club, Shennecossett Golf Course, Richmond Country Club, The Misquamicut Club, Shelter Harbor Golf Club, Stonington Country Club, Lake Of Isles Golf Course, Weekapaug Golf Club, and Winnapaug Country Club.

The Westerly Lions Club has been serving the community for over 90 years. The Westerly Lions Club meets monthly at locations around town and is always looking to add members with a heart to help the less fortunate and the community as a whole. Check out their Facebook page to see some of the things they are working on!

Lions Club Check Presentation





(L to R) Westerly Lions Club Secretary Jared Beaulieu; Amy Grzybowski, Executive Director, Westerly Education Center; Westerly Lions Club President Heather Morrone, and Westerly Lions Club Past President Jeff Sorensen.







FEBRUARY 26, 2018


Grant earmarked for science laboratory

The Westerly Education Center today announces that it is a recipient of a $3,000 grant from Dime Bank to support the modification of a classroom into a laboratory and equipping it with proper teaching accessories. The chemistry lab is necessary for the center’s debut of a process technology workforce development program.

“We thank Dime Bank for their support and investment in the Process Technologist of the Future program,” said Amy Grzybowski, executive director. “The construction and outfitting of a new teaching lab at Westerly Education Center is required to deliver high-quality, high-touch training in this developing career pathway.”

“Dime Bank Foundation is excited to help fund this innovative workforce training program. We love the collaboration between the WEC and their eleven business partners, working together to provide workforce development skills and giving priority hiring status to graduates.” said Dee Sullivan, AVP, Executive Administrator & Project Mgr. at Dime Bank.

Dime Bank Grant Presentation

CAPTION: (l to r) Amy Grzybowski, Executive Director, Westerly Education Center and Dee Sullivan, AVP, Executive Administrator & Project Manager, Dime Bank.

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.

Partners in the development of the boot camp include: Amgen, Pfizer, 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.


JANUARY 17, 2018


The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Planning Association presented Westerly Education Center with the Outstanding Plan Implementation Award at its annual awards presentation on January 11. Westerly Education Center was nominated by East Providence Senior Planner Wayne Barnes for the transformation of blighted land into a beneficial community resource.

“We thank the local APA chapter for its recognition that the revitalization of this parcel of land in the north end of Westerly was highly successful to the town and state,” said Amy Grzybowski, executive director. “Westerly Education Center has provided valuable training in meaningful work skills to nearly 500 people in just one year. This project is a perfect case for how downtown parcels can be turned around with proper planning and widespread community support.”

Accompanying Grzybowski at the ceremony was Sergio Cherenzia, president, Cherenzia and Associates, which provided civil and environmental engineering services and served as a trusted advisor to the project team.

Built on a former freight yard next to the Amtrak train station, Westerly Education Center is an important addition in the revitalization of downtown Westerly. Supported by Chuck Royce, the Westerly philanthropist responsible for dozens of rehabilitation and historic preservation projects in Westerly, the center underpins the sizeable public and private investment of downtown Westerly.

The APA RI Awards Program celebrates recent planning success stories and those who make a difference in the planning profession in Rhode Island. The local planning community nominate favorite projects, plans, student projects, and individual leaders, to honor the great work done that year to advance the planning profession.

“Regardless of the award category, APA RI seeks to recognize people and projects that embody innovation, comprehensiveness, collaboration, transferability to other communities, and a commitment to implementation,” said Jeff Davis, president-elect of APA RI.

APA RI is one of 47 chapters and 20 divisions of the American Planning Association. The chapter is a non-profit public interest and research organization dedicated to urban, suburban, regional and rural planning. With over 150 members, APA RI is comprised of planners at all government levels, private consultants, local planning board members, landscape architects, environmental scientists, lawyers, engineers, professors, students and other professionals dedicated to sound planning principles.

Westerly Education Center Executive Director Amy Grzybowski (R) and Cherenzia & Associates President Sergio Cherenzia (L), accept Rhode Island Chapter of American Planning Association’s Outstanding Plan Implementation Award on January 11, 2018.



DECEMBER 13, 2017

The university will offer four courses in Westerly during semester starting Jan. 24

The Roger Williams University School of Continuing Studies is partnering with the Westerly Education Center to offer courses for the semester that begins Jan. 24.

RWU will offer four courses at the Westerly Education Center, which is managed by the State of Rhode Island’s Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner and located 23 Friendship St., Westerly. Those four courses are: Introduction to Computer Software, Introduction to Public Health, Spanish in the Workplace, and Foundations of Education. And beginning Feb. 5, RWU also will offer a cybersecurity career pathway program.

“Westerly Education Center is thrilled Roger Williams University is expanding access of their courses in southwestern Rhode Island,” said Amy Grzybowski, executive director of Westerly Education Center. “Providing course options and learning opportunities to adults and high school students alike who are exploring career pathways helps prepare our workforce for jobs in sectors critical to Rhode Island’s future prosperity.”

“The School of Continuing Studies is excited to be partnering with Westerly Education Center,” said Jamie Scurry, dean of the RWU School of Continuing Studies. “The vision set out for the center is aligned to our ethos and goal of removing barriers and obstacles to accessing education programs and opportunities. Meeting students, families and employers where they are is not only critical to this goal, it allows for us to contextualize our programs and curriculum to ensure that each student is exceptionally prepared to achieve their goals and be workforce ready.”

If you are interested, go to the Rhode Island Advanced Coursework Network Registration Portal and enter “Westerly” in the search box.


AUGUST 8, 2017

Will design jobs training program for major employers in RI and CT

The Westerly Education Center today announces that it is a recipient of a $394,124 Real Jobs RI grant to design and implement of jobs training program that will benefit 11 employers including Pfizer, Thielsch Engineering, Amgen, Roger Williams Medical Center, Toray Plastics (America), Rhodes Pharmaceuticals, Grey Sail Brewing, Kenyon Industries, and more.

“We are grateful to Real Jobs RI for this grant, which will boost the employability of many people,” said Amy Grzybowski, executive director. “Westerly Education Center is thrilled to help Rhode Island and Connecticut businesses meet an identified workforce need. Thanks to Pfizer, who approached us about the need for process technicians, we gathered a cohort of employers to collectively submit the proposal to provide a boot-camp style training in the basic skills required for ideal candidates.”

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.

“This boot camp is an innovative higher educational program that will increase high-in-demand graduates prepared for the workforce,” said Brenda Dann-Messier, commissioner of postsecondary education for the state of Rhode Island. “Westerly Education Center is doing really innovative work to develop training that will prepare individuals for a high-wage career pathway.”

In addition to the companies mentioned above, other cohort members include: Eurofins Lancaster Biopharma, Eurofins Spectrum Analytical, 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.

“Offering skills training of the baseline competencies for process technologists is highly desired by several industries, not just by Pfizer,” said Glenn Wilcox, director of CRD API manufacturing at Pfizer, who started his career at the company as a quality control technician after graduating from CCRI’s chemical technology program with an associate’s degree in applied science. “These are great jobs with huge potential for the employees. Many opportunities exist for employees to advance within the process technologist position or to a higher wage position with a company. The boot camp will offer practical training so that individuals with no, or little experience can meet the minimum qualifications to start working as process technologists after completing the course.”


JULY 26, 2017

Registration for RIC, CCRI and RISD|CE courses open now

Westerly Education Center today posted 36 new Rhode Island College, Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island School of Design and The Greatly Agency continuing education classes on If you are interested in learning to speak Spanish, or want to create your own unique bracelet, or develop a writing style appropriate for college, or brush up on your math skills, or want to build an online presence for your small business, you won’t be disappointed by the wide range of offerings. Some courses meet once and others meet weekly until December.

“The public benefits from the increased access to high quality higher education courses,” said Amy Grzybowski, executive director of Westerly Education Center. “At the center, we are experiencing a tremendous growth spurt in the number and variety of classes, which proves the need and desire for college-level instruction in the region.”

Fall semester classes at Westerly Education Center

Rhode Island College
Introduction to Writing and Research in Nursing (first course offering in a new Registered-Nurse-to-Bachelor-of-Science-in-Nursing program at Westerly Education Center)
Gender and Society
Crime and Criminal Justice

Rhode Island School of Design Continuing Education
Bracelet Workshop
Fundamentals of Interior Design
Interior Styling
Watercolor Basics
Introduction to Drawing + Painting: Nature
Introduction to Drawing + Painting: Landscapes Using Gouache
Understanding Design
Introduction to Marketing: Branding You + Your Career
Search Engine Optimization

Community College of Rhode Island
Introduction to Business
Introduction to Computers
Oral Communication I
Basics of Composition
Critical Reading for College Success
College Writing
Composition I
Readings in the Short Story
Survey of Western Civilization II
Fundamentals of Mathematics
Elementary Algebra
College Algebra
Introduction to College Mathematics
Math for Liberal Arts Students
Psychology 2010
Developmental Psychology
General Sociology
Elementary Spanish I
Financial Accounting
Introduction to Biology/Orgismal Chemistry
General Geology 1 - Physical Geology
Introduction to Oceanography
Oceanography Lab

The Greatly Agency, a management consulting and coaching agency focused on retail strategy, marketing and eCommerce, is offering a two-hour workshop for small businesses wishing to create a professional looking DIY website.

June 12, 2017


Chuck Royce and Royce Family Funds share honors for smart growth and workforce development


(L to R) ; Scott Wolfe, Executive Director, GrowSmartRI; Daniel King, Royce Family Fund; Brenda Dann-Messier, Acting Commissioner, Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner; Amy Grzybowski, Executive Director, Westerly Education Center; Timothy Regan, P.E., Client Manager, AMEC Foster Wheeler, formerly of Cherenzia & Associates; and Gail McCann, Esq. Chairwoman, GrowSmartRI


The Westerly Education Center opened for business in January and by early June, it’s already collected two awards. Grow Smart RI and the Governors Workforce Board honored Westerly Education Center for transforming blighted land into a beneficial community resource and for enhancing the state’s workforce development efforts.

“We’re delighted to accept the awards on behalf of all of our partners who strived to revitalize a valuable parcel in the north end of Westerly and created a hub for training residents in meaningful work skills,” said Amy Grzybowski, executive director. “We are encouraged by the reception of our efforts and will continue to devote our energies toward strengthening employment opportunities through education and job skills development.”

The R.I. Governor's Workforce Board presented the Workforce System Innovation Award to Westerly Education Center and recognized, in particular, the Royce Family Fund for their financial contribution, leadership and commitment to enhancing the state's workforce efforts by developing the new training and education center in Westerly.

Grow Smart RI presented its 2017 Smart Growth Award to Westerly Education Center for strengthening the state through innovative revitalization and preservation initiatives and partnerships. They praised the center’s environmental remediation of the 2.5-acre abandoned railyard into "a vibrant downtown hub for job training." More than 250 business, civic, and community stakeholders attended the award ceremony at the Stadium Theater Performing Arts Center in Woonsocket.

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. More information can be found at

APRIL 28, 2017


WESTERLY, R.I. (April 28, 2017) – Governor Gina Raimondo today praised private businesses, state agencies, donors and the General Assembly for their contributions that led to the creation of the new Westerly Education Center before snipping the giant ribbon signaling the opening of the doors for business.

Joining the governor at the ribbon were: Philanthropist Charles M. Royce; R.I. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello; R.I. Senator Dennis Algiere; R.I. Representative Samuel Azzinaro; R.I. Representative Brian Patrick Kennedy; General Treasurer Seth Magaziner; Barbara Cottam, chairwoman, R.I. Board of Education; R.I. Acting Commissioner of Postsecondary Education Brenda Dann-Messier, Amy Grzybowski, executive director, Westerly Education Center of the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner; Community College of R.I. President Meghan Hughes; Rhode Island College President Frank Sánchez; Sean Davies, vice president of operations, Electric Boat-Quonset Point; and Neil Steinberg, president, Rhode Island Foundation.

"I believe we have a collective responsibility to make sure that Rhode Islanders are getting the good jobs that our businesses are creating,” said Governor Gina Raimondo. “The only way that's going to happen is if we make sure that people have the training and education that businesses require. I talk to business owners every day, and they tell me the hardest part of growing is finding the educated workers for the jobs they need to fill. The Westerly Education Center is an important step toward filling that need, connecting hard-working Rhode Islanders with the skills they need to get good-paying jobs. Congratulations to everyone involved in making today a reality."

“I commend the Royce family and everyone who helped make this project a reality. This center will help train highly-skilled employees who can fill good-paying jobs right here in Rhode Island, starting with helping Electric Boat meet the workforce demands they need to build the next generation of submarines,” said Senator Jack Reed, the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who has led efforts to secure federal funding for the Virginia-class submarine program, including advance procurement for two ships planned in 2017.

“This venture opens up new pathways for our students and citizens to reach their career goals and is a model for successful public-private partnerships throughout the region,” said Dann-Messier. “We are all grateful to Chuck Royce for his vision and his ability to engage the full support of state and municipal leaders, private enterprise, and philanthropic organizations.”

The Westerly Education Center on Friendship Street delivers high-quality educational classes to meet projected workforce growth in the region. All Rhode Island public higher education institutions (CCRI, URI and RIC) and the Department of Labor and Training are partners in the effort to provide workforce training and improved regional access to curricula offerings. The facility features instructional classrooms and lab space for hands-on, industry-ready training programs, with General Dynamics/Electric Boat and CCRI as the anchor partners. The inaugural program offerings in maritime pipefitting, sheet metal, and electrical work enable General Dynamics/Electric Boat to meet obligations for contracted work with Rhode Island and Connecticut employees.

The center is available for businesses that wish to rent it for their own training sessions, and they may opt to engage with the higher education institutions to develop a customized course. Last month, Agway hosted a course in beekeeping and Ella Ivory held a sexual harassment session for its employees.

Environmental remediation of the 2.5-acre abandoned railyard bolstered the appeal of the center among Westerly officials. The proposed use of the property was an objective and action item within the town’s comprehensive plan. 

Chuck Royce was the largest private donor of the Westerly Education Center. He is a well-known investor and community benefactor of Westerly properties such as Ocean House, the Weekapaug Inn, Savoy Bookstore, Knickerbocker Café, Ocean Community Skating Rink, Weekapaug Innlet, and the Avondale Farm Preserve.


APRIL 5, 2017

UPDATE (April 23, 2017): MS Office classes slated to begin on April 26 and 27 have been rescheduled.

RIC’s Professional Studies and Continuing Education to Offer Microsoft Office 2016 Classes at the Westerly Education Center

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island College is partnering with the Westerly Education Center to offer workforce training courses in Westerly. RIC’s first offering is scheduled to start on April 26, 2017.

The Microsoft Office 2016 courses are designed to provide workplace computer skills and proficiencies to enable participants to analyze, design, and develop solutions for office business processes and problems using Microsoft Office 2016. Introductory courses include Word 2016, Excel 2016, and PowerPoint 2016. To register, click here.

Qualified state employees may be eligible for state incentive credit through the R.I. Office of Training and Development.

Each course includes 24 training hours, and the fee is $350 per course. Joyce Perry, owner of Tailor-Made Training and an adjunct instructor at RIC, will be the instructor. A second cycle of Microsoft Office 2016 courses will be offered in fall 2017. Additional workforce and professional training courses will be developed and offered in Westerly based on community and industry needs.

Joyce Perry, MBA is a RIC PSCE trainer and adjunct instructor in the RIC Department of Accounting and Computer Information Services. Joyce’s main passion is teaching, and she is currently an adjunct instructor at both the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and RIC. She has an MBA from Johnson & Wales University, a BS from Bryant University, an AS from CCRI, and she is a graduate of Katharine Gibbs School and holds a Katharine Gibbs Certificate in Secretarial Studies. Joyce was formerly a lead instructor and internship coordinator in the Katharine Gibbs office administration program, faculty at the Salter School in Fall River, and a buyer at General Dynamics. Joyce is also the founder and operator of Tailor-Made Training, a unique company with five trainers that provides one-on-one computer training for clients of all ages and skill levels. Training is available in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, and QuickBooks. Tailor-Made Training also offers a certificate program in Professional Administrative Assistant.



MARCH 15, 2017

RISD Continuing Education Enters Westerly Market With 3 Evening Courses
Digital Photography, Painting with Acrylics and Foundations of Drawing begin April 25
WESTERLY, R.I. – Rhode Island School of Design Continuing Education (RISD|CE) will offer three courses this spring at the Westerly Education Center. The newly opened Westerly Education Center on Friendship Street is a public/private entity of the state and higher education institutions and serves as a satellite campus for RISD|CE.
“We want to stretch the reach of our Continuing Education courses, and Westerly is an ideal locale for people in southern Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut to work with RISD|CE’s renowned faculty in a range of visual arts and design disciplines,” said Sarah Caggiano, executive director of RISD|CE. 
“We’re thrilled to host RISD|CE in Westerly as we know that there is a vibrant artistic community who will welcome their presence,” said Amy Grzybowski, executive director of the Westerly Education Center. “These first three courses are a perfect introduction for those wishing to experience personal enrichment and engage in creativity, explore a new artistic medium and refine their skills.”
The three evening courses meet April 25 through May 30, and enrollment is open now. They are: Essentials of Digital Photography, Foundations of Drawing, and Introduction to Painting with Acrylics. To register for these courses, visit and enter the keyword "Westerly" in the keyword field of the top navigation. 
Introduction to Painting with Acrylics
Painting can be the ultimate escape: both relaxing and intuitive, a timeless form of self-expression. Have you always wanted to learn how to paint? In this course, you'll explore the entire process from start to finish, using the classic medium of acrylic paints, popular among the great masters as well as today's contemporary artists. You'll also arm yourself with the mental and physical toolset to bring your observations and perspectives to life. Using a hands-on approach, you'll learn the fundamentals of compositional structure, color theory, figure-ground relationships, two-point linear perspective, spatial concepts, and critical thinking associated with the language of color, composition, and value of the subject. Classes will work inside and outside of the studio and be inspired by the beautiful surroundings of Watch Hill. The instructor will provide subject matter to focus on, but students are encouraged to seek their own focus and passions to paint, utilizing this course as a launch pad to a lifelong practice of painting. 
Essentials of Digital Photography
If you're a photographer eager to understand the basics of digital workflow while sharpening your compositional eye, then this introductory course is the ideal opportunity. You'll begin with the rudiments of camera operation and handling to increase your confidence as you complete weekly assignments that build upon one another. These pictures are reviewed during class time in a focused critique led by your instructor, with participation by classmates. Throughout the course, the history of the art form is presented to give students a context for their re-engagement with digital photography. 
Foundations of Drawing
In this course, students get a comprehensive overview of the fundamentals of freehand drawing; representation of objects and natural forms; problems of analysis, response, perception and composition; and technical standards. This course is designed as the key building block for establishing a working knowledge of spatial organization and visual problem solving. All aspects of the course will be supported by dynamic classroom lectures, drawing demonstrations and visual aids. Throughout the term, there will be in-class critiques and designated homework assignments, as well as some in-class exercises. Students will draw using various artistic media. 
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.

One of the oldest colleges of its kind in the US, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) stands out as a leader in art and design education. Rhode Island School of Design Continuing Education (RISD|CE) educates students of all ages in art and design with high quality, accessible programs. The division serves more than 4,000 individual students per year in its non-credit courses, six-week Pre-College Program for high school artists and designers, and Summer Programs for college credit. RISD|CE also offers non-credit certificate programs for adults and teens. For more information about RISD Continuing Education, visit


NOVEMBER 18, 2016

Westerly Education Center nearing completion

Westerly, RI– The Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner today released a statement and updated timeline regarding the construction of the Westerly Education Center facility at 23 Friendship Street.

“We have met a very aggressive construction timeline,” said Amy Grzybowski, Executive Director of the Westerly Education Center. “There will be a lot of activity in the building to kick off the new year. Along with the Electric Boat trade curriculum, leadership training, and evening classes through CCRI, we anticipate that the Center will be hosting other courses and programs from CCRI, URI, RIC, private institutions and other industry partners.”

“We are pleased there has been such strong interest from local and regional entities in bringing great new educational opportunities to the Westerly area,” added Grzybowski. “ As we move closer to final completion we look forward to announcing dates for public open houses.”

“We are proud to take part in this innovative project, which represents the active roles Rhode Island, local school systems and industry are taking to build the educated work force required to compete and succeed in the 21st century,” said Sean Davies, Vice President of Quonset Point Operations for General Dynamics Electric Boat. “We applaud the contributions of everyone involved in establishing this partnership.”

Davies added: “This program will provide General Dynamics Electric Boat with the educated and motivated employees we will require to meet the demands of increased submarine production. They’ll have the skills and tools they’ll need to perform effectively at their jobs, as well as the means to take on future professional opportunities.”


  • March 2016—Construction began
  • November 2016—Preliminary inspections completed
    • Equipment installed for Electric Boat Hands-On Training Area
    • Wallboard and finishes commencing for 10 of 16 classrooms
  • December 2016—“Train-the-trainer” event for CCRI instructors and TAs in maritime electrical, sheet metal, and pipefitting
    • Marketing Director hired
  • January 2017—Training for Electric Boat employees begins
    • 10 classrooms ready for Spring 2017 semester
  • Mid-February 2017—Construction on 6 remaining classrooms complete
    • Facility complete

AUGUST 1, 2016

Grzybowski Named Executive Director of Westerly Higher Education and Industry Center

Warwick, RI—The Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (RIOPC) announced today that Amy Grzybowski has been named Executive Director of the Westerly Higher Education and Industry Center. Ms. Grzybowski is currently the Director of Development Services and Director of Emergency Management for the Town of Westerly, having previously served as interim Town Manager. 

“We are pleased to welcome Amy to our team. Her knowledge of Westerly, her leadership and economic development experience make her an ideal candidate to lead this venture,” said Dr. Jim Purcell, Rhode Island Commissioner of Postsecondary Education.

Since 2012, Ms. Grzybowski has led building, planning, zoning and economic development efforts for the Town of Westerly, including securing and managing over $13 million in grant funding and overseeing the town’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy. As Town Manager, she was responsible for over 160 employees, an $84 million budget, and all operations for the town. In previous roles, Grzybowski has overseen emergency management and recovery plans for both public and private entities, including the Maguire Group, Inc. and the RI Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA). She holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Administration of Justice from Salve Regina University, and she has taught courses on homeland security and emergency management for the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and Salve Regina University.

 “I am honored to serve as the first Executive Director of the Westerly Higher Education and Industry Center.  This facility brings tremendous opportunity for workforce development, job training, economic development, and public-private partnerships,” said Grzybowski, “and I am excited to be part of it.”

FEBRUARY 4, 2016

Rep. Azzinaro highlights CCRI Westerly Jobs Skills Training Center project

STATE HOUSE – Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly) was joined by Governor Gina Raimondo, Senate Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere (R-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, North Kingstown), CCRI President Dr. Meghan Hughes, philanthropist Charles Royce, representatives from Electric Boat, and Westerly Superintendent Roy Seitsinger, Jr. at the Westerly train station on Feb. 4 to announce plans for a new CCRI Jobs Skills Training Center in downtown Westerly adjacent to the train station.  The purpose of the facility is to train students and prepare them for high paying jobs with companies like Electric Boat.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our community and I am proud to have helped secure funding for this exciting project.  It is going to bring new life to our downtown, while also serving as a training center for Westerly residents to learn new skills for good paying jobs,” said Representative Azzinaro.  “I’d like to thank Speaker Mattiello, who made a commitment of state support; Governor Raimondo; Senate Minority Leader Algiere; the civic-minded folks at Electric Boat and the Westerly School Department.  This is a perfect example of what can be accomplished for the community through productive and innovative public-private partnerships,” added Representative Azzinaro.

In 2014, Representative Azzinaro was speaking with Charles Royce and thanked him for his efforts to revitalize downtown Westerly.  Royce commented that a CCRI presence was necessary for the revitalization and he pledged financial support.  Representative Azzinaro then mobilized House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) and then CCRI President Ray DePasquale to meet with Charles Royce.

Collectively, they identified the need for a traditional community college program with specialized job training, focusing on a large regional employer as an anchor tenant.  Representative Azzinaro then recruited Electric Boat to establish a campus located between its Groton and Quonset Point facilities.

Permits for the project have been obtained and construction will commence soon on the site near the Westerly train station.  The campus will consist of a job skills training center and 18 academic classrooms.  The center will be dedicated to enrolling and training high-skill, high-wage workers in electrical, maritime pipefitting, maritime sheet metal, and carpentry.  Electric Boat is working closely with CCRI to develop the curriculum.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903

FEBRUARY 4, 2016

Westerly Higher Education and Job Skills Center Moving Forward with CCRI

Governor Gina M. Raimondo today spoke about the importance of creating a new economy in Rhode Island filled with high-skill, high-wage jobs near the future site of the Westerly Higher Education and Job Skills Center. She was joined by Senate Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere, Representative Samuel A. Azzinaro, CCRI President Dr. Meghan Hughes, Cabinet Directors, and members of the Westerly community.

"Our priority must be expanding opportunities for Rhode Islanders to build the skills they need to get good-paying jobs," Raimondo said. "CCRI working with community leaders, state agencies, and companies like Electric Boat is exactly what we need to jumpstart our economy. I am grateful to the Westerly community for coming together to provide this resource."

The center was created through a partnership that includes CCRI and local business leaders. This 17-classroom facility will accommodate up to 1,000 students a year. The center will be dedicated to enrolling and training high-skill, high-wage workers in maritime pipefitting, maritime sheet metal, and carpentry. Electric Boat is working closely with CCRI to develop the curriculum. The project received a brownfields grant of $712,000 from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and a ceremonial check presentation took place at the event.

"I am pleased to see that the years of work that have gone into this are coming to fruition," Senate Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere said. "One of our top priorities in this state has been to find a way for people to learn the skills they need to find jobs in specialized industries. This new campus and program will give high school students who are not interested in a four-year college education an avenue to become trained in high-skill, high-paying jobs at companies like Electric Boat. The community is fortunate to have Charles Royce as a major contributor to this project."

"This a great day for Westerly and for our state's future," Representative Samuel A. Azzinaro said. "This center will help prepare our residents for good-paying jobs at companies like Electric Boat, while also bringing a strong sense of vibrancy to our downtown revitalization efforts. We need to celebrate this innovative public-private partnership, and I am proud to have played a role by bringing the need for such a facility to the attention of a wonderful philanthropist like Charles Royce."

"The 17-classroom capacity, in addition to the Job Skills Center, are designed to accommodate the traditional programs of CCRI at this satellite location," philanthropist Charles Royce said. "Community colleges are the backbone of American higher education. Placing this facility so that it overlooks and enhances the ongoing downtown Westerly revitalization efforts is critical."

"Electric Boat is proud to play a part in this innovative effort to shape Rhode Island's future manufacturing workforce," Electric Boat Vice President of Human Resources and Administration Maura Dunn said. "In a very real way, this program enables Electric Boat to invest in the future talent of the company, while significantly enhancing the career potential of its participants and contributing to the economic growth of Rhode Island."

For more information contact:

Governor's Communications Office