Apprenticeship Rhode Island Announces Five New Partnerships-

Recipients selected for Non-Trade Apprenticeship Development GrantsAs was recently posted by the Governor’s Workforce Board (GWB) here , five new recipients were selected for 2018 non-trade development grants through the GWB to help develop new innovative apprenticeship programs. The GWB is Rhode Island’s primary policy-making body focused on workforce development matters. Non-Trade Apprenticeship Development Grants fund the development and expansion of innovative apprenticeship models in occupations outside of the traditional trades.

Apprenticeship Rhode Island will provide design and technical assistance to support the award recipients and is excited to help these employers create new career opportunities for Rhode Islanders.

The 2018 Award recipients include:

Marine Industry Training and Education Council (MITEC), Marine Service Technician Apprenticeship.

Partners and Employer Sponsors: The Hinckley Company, New England Tech, American Boat Builders and Repairers Association.

Rhode Island Hospitality Education Foundation, Line Cook Apprenticeship.

Partners and Employer Sponsors: Gregg’s Restaurant and Tavern, Davies Career and Technical High School, Rhode Island Hospitality Association.

Care New England, Community Health Worker Apprenticeship.

Partners and Employer Sponsors: Care New England Healthcare System, SEIU 1199NE, Rhode Island College, United Way of Rhode Island, Skills for RI’s Future, Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP).

Providence Community Health Centers, Certified Medical Assistant Apprenticeship.

Partners and Employer Sponsors: Providence Community Healthcare Centers, SEIU 1199NE, Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP).

Rhode Island Institute for Labor Studies and Research, Call Center Customer Service Apprenticeship.

Partners and Employer Sponsors: Higher Ed Partners/Student Resource Center, LLC, Office & Professional Employees International Union, Local 25.

GWB Executive Director Heather Hudson noted that “Based on last year’s success, the GWB is funding five development grants in 2018 to provide critical seed funding to employers using the Registered Apprenticeship model to introduce new occupations, create career pathways and open the door to new hires helping to build Rhode Island’s economy and providing family-sustaining employment for more Rhode Islanders”

Last year’s Non-Trade Apprenticeship Development Programs grants funded the development and implementation of four new Registered Apprenticeship programs. The programs have expanded apprenticeship to new occupations in Rhode Island, which are now flourishing at:

  • Brown Medicine (formerly University Medicine), LPN Apprenticeship, in partnership with the Community College of Rhode Island.
  • Seascape Lawn Care Inc., Professional Land Care Specialist Apprenticeship, in partnership with the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association.
  • Rhode Island Parent Information Network (RIPIN), Community Health Worker Apprenticeship, in partnership with Rhode Island College.
  • Symmetrix Composite Tooling, Composite Tool and Pattern Maker Apprenticeship, in partnership with the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA).

“Governor Raimondo continues to recognize that employers are best suited to drive  the workforce development solutions they need, which is reflected by the strategic investments made by this administration’ in programs such as the GWB, said Andrew Cortés, Executive Director of Building Futures. “We greatly appreciate the Governor’s strong support and continued partnership with the Department of Labor and Training as we expand the use of Registered Apprenticeship to help residents and businesses of Rhode Island thrive.”


Apprenticeship Rhode Island is an initiative of Building Futures, funded in part by an American Apprenticeship Initiative grant of the U.S. Department of Labor. In partnership with the RI Department of Labor and Training, Apprenticeship Rhode Island is working with employers, industry associations, and educational partners to design, register and launch new Apprenticeship programs to address employers’ workforce development needs.

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Governor’s Workforce Board produces new report: Unlocking Apprenticeship”

In response to Senate Resolution S0826-sponsored by Senate President Dominick J.  Ruggerio, the Governor’s Workforce Board recently released a new report outlining Apprenticeship as an incredibly effective workforce development tool.

A cover letter introducing the report goes on to say that The Rhode Island Legislature rightfully recognizes the effectiveness of apprenticeship; a recognition shared by both the current and previous Presidential administrations. In response, the Department of Labor & Training (DLT), the Governor’s Workforce Board (GWB), and the State Apprenticeship Council (SAC) have partnered to develop this report and provide an action ­oriented plan to expand Registered Apprenticeship in Rhode Island.

Stating that “Apprenticeship  holds great promise as a way to meet employer skill demands while building pathways into the middle class for potentially thousands of Rhode Islanders–The Rhode Island Department of labor and Training (DLT), the Governor’s Workforce Board (GWB), and many others, seek to promote and expand the use of apprenticeship as a training model.

To read the complete report, click here

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Growing Green in the new Green Economy

Innovative Partnership between RI Nursery & Landscape Association and  Seascape illuminates growth potential!

In a little less than a year’s time, a pilot program premiering the States’ first-ever Landscape Design Technician Apprenticeship has been launched.

This remarkable effort was born of a creative collaboration between a private employer-Seascape Lawn Care Inc., a professional industry association-Rhode Island Nursery & Landscape Association (RINLA), a non-profit service organization focused on growing new apprenticeship programs to address workforce development-Apprenticeship Rhode Island, with critical funding in the form of a Real Jobs grant through the RI Department of Labor & Training.

To learn more about Seascape’s initial program, click here for a feature story in the Providence Business News.

This pilot program is a small part of a larger effort supported in RINLA’s Real Jobs grant to strengthen workforce development across green jobs. Employer partners in this wider effort include: Fleurs, Inc., Wild and Scenic, The Farmer’s Daughter, Shoreline Landscaping and Earth Care Farm.

The larger project’s focus will be piloting apprenticeship programs with RINLA members, creating alignment with CTE training programs,  developing a recruitment strategy with career and technical schools, exploring a RINLA human resources service program for the industry, and developing a plan to create a new talent pool for Rhode Island’s agriculture and landscaping industry.

The long-term goal of the partnership, which also includes Apprenticeship Rhode Island and career & technical schools of Ponaganset, Chariho, Narragansett and Foster-Glocester, is to put in place a career pathway that includes a pre-apprenticeship program apprenticeships, and two year degree, which will lead to career opportunities with living wages.

“This project is critically important for Rhode Island’s green industries, and it helps to demonstrate how important this industry is to the Rhode Island economy,” said Shannon Brawley, executive director of RINLA. According to a 2012 economic impact study, the industry employs more than 13,000 people in Rhode Island and produces about $1.78 billion in annual revenues. “RINLA members also play a significant role in greening our state’s infrastructure and protecting its farmland and open space, and that’s going to provide economic and social and environmental benefits like clean air and a better quality of life,” Brawley added.

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Healthcare leaders tout “Competitive Advantage” of Apprenticeship

Participants from Executive Leadership, Management & Labor share best practices

Providence, RI.

In recognition of the State of Rhode Island’s 2nd annual participation in National Apprenticeship Week, Apprenticeship Rhode Island, a program initiative of Building Futures, hosted a gathering of over 90 participants to learn about the progress Rhode Island’s Healthcare sector has made in building critical infrastructure  to meet the workforce needs of the industry in the coming decade.

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is a celebration, initiated by the US department of labor that offers leaders in business, labor, education, and other critical partners a chance to express their support for Apprenticeship. NAW also gives apprenticeship sponsors the opportunity to showcase their programs, facilities and apprentices in their community. The weekly events highlight the benefits of Apprenticeship in preparing a highly-skilled workforce to meet the talent needs of employers across diverse industries.

A number of federal, state and local officials as well as leaders from private industry participated in Apprenticeship Rhode Island’s special healthcare forum which took place on November 9th, and was the headline event among fifteen different events in Rhode Island’s celebration of NAW. Panelists of the forum included Jody Jencks, Director of Workforce Development for Care New England; Jennifer Hyde, Senior Administrator for University Medicine; Rick LaFerriere, Lead Manager-Workforce Initiatives at CVS Health; Nicole Hebert, Director of Operations at the RI Parent Information Network (RIPIN) and Patrick Quinn, Executive V.P. of SEIU 1199 NE.

Jill Houser, Regional Director of Apprenticeship for Region 1 of the US Department of Labor was on hand to welcome assembled guests and noted that she was impressed by the Forum’s gathering. When thanking Building Futures’ Executive Director-Andrew Cortes-for his organization’s work in building non-trade Apprenticeships, Houser offered that; “Andrew and I have something in common. In addition to our passion for apprenticeship, we were both carpenters. And carpenters like to build things. And if there’s one thing you learn as a first year apprentice, it’s that there’s more than one way to build a structure that will last for hundreds of years, and I really feel like we’re in that place.”

The forum’s moderator, former Senate President and now President of the Rhode Island Hospital Association echoed Ms. Houser’s remarks by recognizing that “It is so cool to come from the general assembly and see words on a paper, ideas, discussions, and in just in two years’ time, become a reality.” During her time in the RI Senate, Paiva Weed was a champion of improving workforce development resources for RI and a supporter of the expansion of the Apprentice model to non-trade occupations.

Many of the employers furthered awareness of how they are working to integrate the apprenticeship model into their work places. “Although the apprenticeship language was new to healthcare, it really wasn’t. It already existed in residencies and fellowship programs, and now how can we make it applicable to other career pathways?” Said Jody Jencks, Director of Workforce Development for Care New England. Jencks continued; “The care model has changed over the last 2o years, so the apprenticeship framework has provided us a model, really a roadmap, to look at how to align the care model to the competencies and skills of our workers.”

For example, Jencks continued, “Our nurse leaders spearhead the program [at Women and Infants], bringing in novice to advanced beginner nurses that either had no experience or only a few years in the field: being able to apprentice this program, to give them the opportunity to build up these competencies and skills, really allows for a seamless transition into our workforce.”

Patrick Quinn, Executive V.P. for SEIU 1199-NE, worked hand in hand with Care New England and Apprenticeship Rhode Island on apprenticing medical coders. Quinn noted that “There’s always a lot of training going on in the healthcare world because practices and technologies change so quickly, so I think what Apprenticeship has to offer is quantifiable, affordable, and is both skills and knowledge based, and that’s where healthcare is moving towards.’

Panelist Rick LaFerriere, Lead Manager Workforce Initiatives at CVS Health added, “At the end of the day, you look at this and say, ‘Well, this is a pretty great workforce program. Why wouldn’t we do this?’ So let’s get to work on this.”

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Governor proclaims RI Apprenticeship Week

Signing ceremony during the second National Apprenticeship Week recognizes the expansion of the Apprenticeship model in Rhode Island and celebrates advancements of the year.

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) provides leaders in business, labor, education, community organizations and government an opportunity to celebrate advances within Registered Apprenticeship. For the second year, a presidential proclamation established NAW, providing apprenticeship sponsors the opportunity to showcase their programs, facilities and apprentices. Events during the week highlight the benefits of Apprenticeship in preparing a highly-skilled workforce to meet the talent needs of employers across diverse industries.

Governor Gina Raimondo proclaimed November 13-19, 2017 as Apprenticeship Week in Rhode Island in conjunction with NAW, and provided special recognition to Building Futures’ Apprenticeship Rhode Island effort for its role in developing innovative non-construction Registered Apprenticeships. Working in tandem with the Real Jobs RI team, the Governor’s Workforce Board and many others, Apprenticeship Rhode Island has combined post-secondary education with employment, leading to family sustaining careers and nationally portable credentials in multiple industries, such as Healthcare and IT.

“Governor Raimondo continues to recognize that employers are best suited to drive  the workforce development solutions they need, which is reflected by the strategic investments made by this administration’, said Andrew Cortés, Executive Director of Building Futures. “We greatly appreciate the Governor’s strong support and continued partnership with the Department of Labor and Training as we expand the use of Registered Apprenticeship to help residents and businesses of Rhode Island thrive.”


Pictured with Governor Gina Raimondo above  are (Left to Right) Andrew L. Cortés, Executive Director of Building Futures/Apprenticeship RI; Gregory Mancini Esq., Chair of Building Futures’ Board of Directors; Amy Weinstein, Employer Liaison at Apprenticeship RI; David Balasco, Senior Director, Government Relations at Lifespan; Jody Jencks, Director of Workforce Development at Care New England; Ken Richardson, Building Futures’ Board; Lisa Abbott, Senior V.P. of Human Resources at Lifespan; Sandra Powell, Building Futures’ Board; Scott Jensen, Director R.I. Dept. Labor & Training; Scott Duhamel of Building Futures’ Board.

2017 RI Apprenticeship Week Proclamation

Apprenticeship Rhode Island is an initiative of Building Futures, funded in part by an American Apprenticeship Initiative grant of the U.S. Department of Labor. In partnership with the RI Department of Labor and Training, Apprenticeship Rhode Island is working with employers, industry associations, and educational partners to design, register and launch new Apprenticeship programs to address employers’ workforce development needs.


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Good Jobs without a BA

by Sarah Buchanan, Brown University Bonner Fellow at Apprenticeship RI

We tell kids they have to go to college to have a good career.  Aiming for college is good advice, but it ignores Apprenticeship and it ignores the reality that the number one reason students leave college without a degree is financial.

“There are still 30 million good jobs in the U.S. that pay well without a BA,” according to a new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.  “These well-paid jobs still require post-secondary education, including gaining specialized skills and significant training beyond high school,” according the Building Futures’ Executive Director, Andrew Cortes, “but not necessarily Bachelor’s degree.”  Many of these well-paid jobs are in construction, technology, and healthcare and are facing critical shortages of skilled workers.

That’s where Apprenticeship RI comes in. Apprenticeship RI, an initiative of Building Futures, is doing two important things.  First it is assisting employers in adopting the Registered Apprenticeship model and second it is partnering with the State of Rhode Island to strengthen the entire Apprenticeship System.  By partnering with Apprenticeship RI, employers from hospitals and manufacturers to the police are launching new training pathways and formalizing programs as Registered Apprenticeships.

One thing both major political parties agree on is that Apprenticeship will only grow over the coming decades. This past June, President Trump issued an Executive Order calling for expansion of apprenticeships, following in the steps of his predecessor President Obama, whose administration invested “$90 Million through Apprenticeship USA to Expand Proven Pathways into the Middle Class.”

Every year, students take on millions of dollars in debt for bachelor’s degrees with no guarantee of a job. Many do not consider, or even realize, the possibility of other routes such as Apprenticeship, which combine good jobs with post-secondary education and a portable credential.  Apprenticeship reduces risk, because apprenticeship is employment from day one.  Apprentices are selected by employers and hired at the onset before investing 1 to 5 years training and developing mastery in a specialized career. To learn more about developing a Registered Apprenticeship at your company, visit Apprenticeship RI.

For more information, visit the Center on Education and the Workforce’s new report: Good Jobs That Pay Without a BA.

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Only program of its kind in the nation

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I.   University Medicine (UM), a nonprofit primary care, specialty outpatient and sub-specialty medical group practice with over 200 physicians and multiple patient care locations across the state, announces the launch of its Apprenticeship for medical assistants employed by UM who wish to become Licensed Practical Nurses.

The apprenticeship is the result of a collaborative effort initiated by UM between Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and facilitated by Apprenticeship Rhode Island.  It is funded in part by University Medicine and by a grant from the State of Rhode Island Governor’s Workforce Board.

University Medicine’s program marks the first time an apprenticeship is tied to an LPN curriculum in the nation,” states Dr. Louis B. Rice, president and CEO of University Medicine. “No other program like this for LPNs exists – the closest apprenticeship program model can be found in England.  It is also groundbreaking for CCRI to offer such a customized program onsite to meet the specific needs of our employees.  We are grateful for this highly collaborative effort that results in significant career growth opportunity for our staff.”

UM’s LPN Apprenticeship trains medical assistants on staff who are interested in pursuing careers as licensed practical nurses.  CCRI staff assesses the level of academic readiness for program candidates and identifies required courses needed to successfully enter the Practical Nursing Program at CCRI.

“We are seeing employers eager to have academic opportunities to offer to their employees,” comments CCRI VP of Academic Affairs Rosemary Castigan.

After the course curriculum was developed, Apprenticeship RI worked with UM to design and develop the apprenticeship phase of the program, acting as intermediary between the state for registering the apprenticeship and assisting with required documentation. “Once the UM employees enter the nine-month Apprenticeship, they can continue working a reduced schedule,” explains Dr. Rice.  “Although the curriculum timeframe was customized for our employees, the content and rigor of the program remains unchanged and is exactly what a non-UM employee would go through if they were enrolled in CCRI’s LPN program on a full-time basis.

“Apprenticeship in the healthcare sector makes sense,” comments Andrew Cortés, executive director of Building Futures-home to Apprenticeship RI.   “University Medicine is a great example, using apprenticeship to upskill medical assistants to become licensed practical nurses through an innovative partnership with us and the Community College of RI.  Standardizing the skill levels of these critically important caregivers ensures that everyone wins” Cortés concluded.

See coverage on Turn to 10.

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VNA of Care New England Holds Inaugural Graduation

Warwick, RI.   The VNA of Care New England is pleased to announce the graduation of its inaugural class of residents who have completed the VNA of Care New England’s Residency Program for New Graduate Home Health Nurses. The graduation ceremony took place Thursday, September 14, at VNA of Care New England’s home office.

“This residency program has brought an energy and excitement to our agency,” said Kathleen Peirce, RN, MS, vice president of operations, executive director, and chief nursing officer of the VNA of Care New England, in speaking to the new graduates. “I hope that you continue to seek out the resources and opportunities that are here and ready for you. It is our hope that the continuum of care provided through Care New England will allow you to grow as a health care professional within our system. Congratulations to all!”

The graduating class includes Christie Bilodeau, Dawn Landry, Lindsey Lilly, Amelia Mason, Karina Salazar-Marte, and Kendra Santilli. During the ceremony Bilodeau, Landry, and Salazar presented their evidence-based practice research, “Assessing Impaired Cognition in Home Care Patients with Heart Failure,” and Lilly, Mason, and Santilli presented their research, “Assessing Health Literacy in Home Care Heart Failure Patients.”

“It is quite an experience to be a brand new nurse in a patient’s home with multiple complex illnesses, sometimes in less than ideal living conditions. Yet these six nurses did so with finesse. They far exceeded our expectations and we are quite proud of them,” said Lisa DiMaria, PhD, nurse residency program manager and program preceptor. “We know that the best nurses are the ones that keep learning, know where to get their information, and can apply the evidence to their own practice. In doing so, they change nursing, add value to our profession, and exemplify the nurses of the future. Congrats to all the graduates of our first residency program at the VNA.”


Apprenticeship RI is an initiative of Building Futures/RI funded through an American Apprenticeship Initiative grant from the U.S. Dept. of Labor. Assistance is available to all RI employers (outside of the building trades) at NO COST, in designing, implementing and registering new apprenticeship programs. In partnership with the RI Department of Labor and Training, Apprenticeship Rhode Island is working with employers, industry associations, and educational partners to address employers’ workforce development needs.

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Women & Infants Hospital Launches Medical Coding Apprenticeship Program

Collaboration and team work have resulted in the successful launch of Care New England’s first Medical Coding Apprenticeship program at Women & Infants Hospital, and the first Medical Coding Apprenticeship in the state of RI. Care New England’s management team and the labor union, SEIU 1199NE, have worked together to develop every aspect of the apprenticeship program including: measurable competencies, related training and predictable wage increases. They have formed an apprenticeship committee to review program changes, evaluate candidates and have even funded a contracted position that will help expand this exciting work system-wide.

With six new apprentices on board, the results have been immediate. Donna Sprague, Preceptor for the Medical Coding Apprentices says that she attributes the apprenticeship program’s structured on-the-job-learning and mentorship as the reason for the initial cohorts successful adoption of the program. “The Apprentices all know what to expect in order to succeed. They take classes as a cohort, help each other earn passing grades resulting in certification.” The results are more than anecdotal, Renee Vuz, Manager, HIM reports that the department saw a lower bill hold last quarter. “These results allow more movement and cross-functional work between Coders.”

“The goals for this program are large, but very achievable” says Jen Couri, Director of HIM, Coding and Revenue Integrity. “We have already seen an increase in our Coders cross-functional capacity. When Medical Coders can code both outpatient and inpatient records, the hospital experiences increased productivity and billable hours. With a grow your own talent model, we expect to save our department substantial overhead costs.”

In September 2015, Care New England, in partnership with Apprenticeship/RI was the recipient a Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Initiative grant to expand apprenticeship as a model to industries outside of the trades, including the healthcare sector. To date, Care New England has registered four apprenticeship programs including: Coding, Nursing and Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor. With multiple occupations in the pipeline, apprenticeship is a model that provides on the job learning, along with classroom instruction, to upskill current employees and provide career pathways system-wide.

Apprenticeship RI and the Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP) have worked closely with all partners to provide support from: program design and registration to curriculum implementation, competency evaluation to mentor/supervising coaching.


The Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP) is a national labor/management organization that promotes innovation and quality in healthcare career education. Its board includes Service Employees International Union (SEIU) locals and healthcare employers across all sectors of healthcare.  H-CAP has experts, tools, and resources to support healthcare employers interested in starting a Registered Apprenticeship program. To learn more about H-CAP, visit:

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Providence Police Academy becomes an Apprenticeship Program

The Providence Police Department has the first apprenticeship program of its kind in Rhode Island.  Because the Providence Police Academy has all the essential elements of apprenticeship – employment from day one, on-the-job learning, related instruction, and wage progression, the Providence Police were able to register as an Apprenticeship program and tap into the workforce development supports open to Registered Apprenticeships.

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