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BankRI Supports Steel Yard’s ‘Weld To Work’ Program

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


BankRI has announced a $3,500 grant in support of The Steel Yard's "Weld To Work" program for job training. Photo: The Steel Yard.

Even as a high rate of unemployment continues to plague Rhode Island, many manufacturing and special trades-related companies are reporting a growing need for skilled workers. This problem first surfaced before the start of the recession as many companies struggled to find skilled replacements for retiring workers.

In response, Bank Rhode Island (BankRI) announced that it has awarded The Steel Yard with a $3,500 grant in support of its “Weld to Work” program.

The Steel Yard was founded in 2001 by Nick Bauta and Clay Rockefeller who purchased the former Providence Steel and Iron complex to create a non-profit that would serve as a catalyst for the revitalization of the City’s industrial district. In the years that followed, The Steel Yard developed its successful “Weld to Work” program; which focuses on workforce training for low-income, at risk urban Rhode Islanders between the ages of 18 and 22.

Training the next generation of workers

“Rhode Island’s long history with manufacturing and industrial jobs is well-documented,” said Mark J. Meiklejohn, President and CEO, BankRI. “However, as our economy continues to change, and the workforce grows older, it’s imperative that we properly train the next generation of workers for successful careers that allow for self-sufficiency and growth. We’re proud to support The Steel Yard and their efforts to strengthen our local workforce.”

BankRI’s grant will help support a 3-week “Weld to Work” program for 6 trainees. As part of the program’s curriculum, students will learn the technical aspects and range of applications for metalworking in today’s economy, the opportunity to design and build a group project for a community client, and develop a portfolio and resume for job applications. The Steel Yard also helps students schedule visits with prospective employers.

Since its inception, the “Weld to Work” program has graduated nearly 100 students who now work in a variety of social, professional, and economic sectors. Graduates are successfully employed as metal casters, auto restoration specialists, slate roof builders, and more. To learn more about The Steel Yard, please visit www.TheSteelYard.org


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