As the state cautiously emerges from the pandemic in the coming months, Bank Rhode Island (BankRI) has sent $71,500 in funding to local nonprofits. In total, 21 organizations have been awarded grants, including those whose work supports youth education,
As the state cautiously emerges from the pandemic in the coming months, Bank Rhode Island (BankRI) has sent $71,500 in funding to local nonprofits. In total, 21 organizations have been awarded grants, including those whose work supports youth education, programs that help put Rhode Islanders to work, human services, and the arts. Grants range from $1,000 to $7,500.
“Our community has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. We’re seeing a new population of people seeking help, those whose jobs were lost during the pandemic and may not return,” said Shannon Carroll, President and CEO of the Genesis Center, which received a BankRI grant. “This support is critical to our ability to help people embark on a career path that will lead to economic stability.”
The Genesis Center is home to established workforce development programs that offer career paths to become a certified nurse assistant, medical assistant, pharmacy technician, and more. The organization has had to re-tool its training programs, moving from classroom to entirely virtual, and now beginning to incorporate a hybrid curriculum where safe and appropriate. Ensuring participants have the tools they need to learn successfully at home, particularly technology, has placed additional strain on the organization. BankRI’s grant will support emerging needs across all programs. Since fall 2020, Genesis Center has graduated 57 individuals from its CNA, medical assistant, and pharmacy technician programs.
“Although we’re moving in the right direction, there remain challenges ahead of us, especially when it comes to employment, getting people back to work, and closing gaps in education created by the circumstances of the past year,” said Mark J. Meiklejohn, President and CEO of BankRI. “This is an important time for the future of our state, and we at BankRI want to be part of the solution.”
Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island is another organization to receive funding from BankRI in support of its programs that provide pathways to education and employment opportunities for low-income immigrants and refugees. The Institute focuses on English as a second language, and trainings that center on technology, interpersonal communication, and cross-cultural career skills. Because digital literacy is critically important in the 21st century workplace, Dorcas includes a technology component in all levels of ESL and GED prep classes. Support from BankRI will aid these efforts, along with other needs.
“The transition to distance learning has been challenging for our program participants who speak little English and have limited experience with technology,” said Kathy Cloutier, Executive Director of Dorcas International Institute. “In the face of these additional barriers, it has been the generosity of partners like BankRI that has enabled us to be flexible in our ability to meet emerging needs as they arise.”