YouthWORKS411 News
Volume 3, September 2008

Rhode Island Youth Show Off Their Workforce Skills

The YouthWORKS411 Statewide Youth System held its first Summer Showcase this August to celebrate the hard work of the summer’s youth participants. The Showcase literally gave the floor to the 70 youth exhibitors, and featured nearly 30 participant-created displays that highlighted their programs’ positive impact.

Choose Peace

With funding from the Governor’s Workforce Board Rhode Island, the Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island and Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston, 38 vendors launched 48 youth programs this summer that offered leadership training, resume development, career exploration, interviewing skills and work readiness skills.The typical program ran for six to seven weeks and provided participants with an $80 weekly stipend—a great help with back-to-school supplies and clothes shopping. Many programs also offered placement in summer jobs, from restaurant work at Aunt Carrie’s Restaurant in Narragansett and the Cakery in Woonsocket, to overseeing children’s playground activities at the Providence Housing Authority.

Other highlights included:

  • The summer program at the Met School in Providence, which involves youth in the student-created and operated business, The Big Picture Soda Company.
  • The RiverzEdge Arts Project in Woonsocket, which connects kids with fine and commercial artists in the areas of graphic design, digital photography, silkscreen and painting.
  • Tri-Town Community Action in Johnston, which placed a young woman in a construction company where she learned basic carpentry skills and floor tiling.
  • Lifespan’s summer program, which created opportunities for youth ages 16-19 to learn about the varied health care careers available after high school.
  • East Bay Community Action, which found summer employment in the hospitality industry for three young women currently living in a group home.

During the speaking program, two youth participants shared their success stories, which were honest, factual accounts of their lives before and after involvement with the youth programs. By working with counselors through the youth centers and attending several programs, both youth have dramatically changed their lives for the better. One is on her way to college this fall, and the other is now enrolled in a year-long program offering intensive training and apprenticeships in technology-oriented careers. Both speakers expressed their heartfelt gratitude to everyone involved in helping them along the way.

Featured speaker Sandra M. Powell, director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, projected the pride she felt in the youth system’s success, which has grown from 323 participants youth served in 2006 to a projected enrollment of more than 4,000 in this program year. After providing the audience with an overview of current youth programs, Powell was joined by Acting Executive Director of the Workforce Partnership of Greater RI Nicholas Ucci, Executive Director of Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston Robert Ricci and Chief of Statewide Youth Services Lori Norris, in presenting each youth in attendance with a certificate of participation.


Recognizing People Who Make a Difference: Carlos Ribeiro and Anne Walsh  

The list of good things happening goes on and on because there are many hardworking, dedicated professionals who make it happen.  In particular Youth Program Coordinator for the Workforce Partnership of Greater RI Carlos Ribeiro and Youth Program Coordinator for Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston Anne Walsh have played an integral role in the success of the Youth Workforce System.

Carlos Ribeiro

Supporting the Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island participation in the statewide Youth Workforce System has been the WPGRI Youth Team, which provides oversight of our youth programs and ensures that they result in positive outcomes for Rhode Island’s emerging workforce. The leader of the team is Youth Programs Manager Carlos Ribeiro.

Carlos Ribeiro

Carlos’ experience and commitment to youth-related programs has proven to be an asset for the Workforce Partnership in helping develop and implement the state’s Youth Workforce Development System. Carlos brings a unique perspective to his job as Youth Programs Manager and has a deep understanding of the intricacies of federally-funded youth programs, as well as the work it takes to makes those programs successful. Known as a hard worker, Carlos spends much of his time visiting and speaking with our numerous vendors to help them maximize outcomes for the youth we serve, and ensure that each program achieves maximum effectiveness and efficiency. 

This dedication is reflected in the exponential growth of youth programs and service levels over the past two years.  Carlos and the entire WPGRI Youth Programs staff have helped expand the organization’s capacity to serve thousands of young people ages 14 to 24.  For example, the WPGRI went from managing a handful of contracts in 2006 to a streamlined system of nearly 30 contracts in 2008.  Also, less than 300 youth were served by WPGRI-funded programs in 2005 and 2006.  In 2008 and 2009, we estimate that 4,000 young people will benefit from WPGRI-managed programs, ranging from mentoring to leadership development to summer employment opportunities.  Moreover, the number of at-risk youth served through these programs continues to grow, providing supportive services and life pathways for the hardest to serve populations, including foster care and pregnant/parenting teens.  Carlos and the WPGRI Youth Programs staff work diligently to ensure that the programs being delivered are effectively supporting young people and positioning them for future success in a 21st century workforce.

Anne Walsh

Anne Walsh joined the staff of Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston in November 2005 with an extensive background in developing and implementing job training programs.  Her skills in forming strategic public/private partnerships and planning and evaluating programs have proved to be instrumental in the development of a comprehensive youth service delivery program in the cities of Providence and Cranston.


Anne Walsh

Her vision, with the combined efforts of the Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island and the Governor's Workforce Board, has completely changed the way youth programs are delivered in Rhode Island.  Under her leadership, Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston has increased youth programming from five programs serving 82 eligible youth in program year 2006 to 25 programs planning on serving over 1,650 youth for the current year. 

Anne has overseen the expansion of the Youth Center at Providence netWORKri.  Under her tenure, the Youth Center has expanded its hours of operation to enable more area  youth to access services.  In addition, under a grant from the Rhode Island Department of Education, GED classes are now available at the center.  The youth center serves as the hub of all Governor's Workforce Board and Workforce Investment Act-funded programs designed to provide a holistic model of youth service delivery.


September’s Youth of the Month:
Robyn Hill
  Robyn Hill

Robyn Hill has a smile that will light up any room. A warm, friendly and happy 18-year-old, Robyn attends the Community College of Rhode Island full time and is hoping to transfer to University of Rhode Island next fall to major in accounting.  

Robyn caught her first glimpse of college life during a field trip sponsored by the Providence Housing Authority (PHA) summer program. The PHA summer and afterschool programs have been a positive influence in Robyn’s life since age six, when she began participating in the dance, gymnastics and swimming programs. Over the years, Robyn has also attended the PHA afterschool programs, where homework help is available for an hour each day, and yoga, acting and improvisation are among the available activities.

At age 16, Robyn became a PHA volunteer and assisted the counseling staff with preparing the after school snacks and helping the elementary children with their homework.  This past year, Robyn worked as a counselor in the summer youth sports program funded by Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston.  She spent mornings supervising children ages 8 to 13 at Merino Park and afternoons at Zuccolo Pool supervising the young swimmers. There was even a Peter Manfredo sighting at the pool one day, which the kids are still talking about!

In addition to school and work, Robyn enjoys preparing Spanish specialty dishes and reads novels by her favorite author— James Patterson. Reflecting on her positive experiences at the Providence Housing Authority, Robyn recalls a time when funding was cut and the programs were cancelled.  Her wish for the future is that this resource will remain available so that the lives of PHA kids will continue to be enriched the way hers has been for so many years.

Good luck to Robyn from YouthWorks411!



RI State Seal   Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920
Sandra M. Powell, Director