Real Skills for Youth

Real Skills for Youth is centered around the goal of preparing youth for success in college and career through meaningful career exposure and exploration of potential career paths and their on-ramps, skill-building with an emphasis on essential and professional skills, and supported work-based learning experiences that allow participants to apply learning in a real-world setting.

In FY23, the GWB allocated $1.4 million to the program to support 17 partnerships consisting of schools, youth-serving organizations, employers and others to develop and implement high-quality work-based learning activities and work-readiness programming from July 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022.

Real Skills for Youth, a state-funded program, is part of Rhode Island’s larger effort called Prepare Rhode Island (PrepareRI). PrepareRI aims to close the gap between what students learn in school and what they need for high-demand jobs and to ensure that historically underserved student populations have expanded access to quality career preparation opportunities in priority sector industries – through scaling out activities such as career exploration and work-based learning opportunities.

The GWB plans to release a solicitation for the Real Skills for Youth program later this summer/early fall.

Real Skills for Youth Partners

AS220 - The AS220 Youth: Preparing Youth for Creative Careers partnership will continue to expose youth ages 14 to 21 from Providence, Cranston, Warwick, Pawtucket, Central Falls, and cities throughout RI to professions in creative fields through trainings, creative service-learning projects, and conversations with arts professionals. Participants will continue to contribute and expand a multimedia play researched, written, and produced by youth that will focus on challenge faced by their community of their choosing. Through the program, youth will attain career readiness skills needed to pursue a professional career in the arts. In Summer 2022 AS220 Youth will hire 20 young people through the Real Skills program, participate in work-readiness training and complete industry projects. Participants will receive creative entrepreneur training, and complete work as Performance artists (including dance, music composition and performance), Media Artists (including film, photography, digital design), Visual arts and design, and Apparel Designers. The 6-week summer program will culminate with a public event in downtown Providence. 

Community Action Partnership of Providence - ‘Rhode to Careers in a Green and Healthy Food Systems’ (CAPP), through its Education and Job Development department and external partners, seeks to integrate youth development principles into work-based learning experiences for youth ages 14-24. CAPP will provide opportunities for youth to understand career pathways and decision points, including the linkages between educational attainment, relevant experience, demonstrable skills, and career advancement. CAPP, and its partners, seek to again implement a summer youth employment program in the cities of Pawtucket and Providence, and implement a school year "Teacher Academy" operated in partnership with the Providence Public School System through its Career and Technical Education department. During the school year, youth participants will develop an understanding of teacher career pathways and its impact. 

Southside Community Land Trust - The Nurturing the Seed: A Rhode Island Food Systems Career Pathway partnership will introduce high school and post-high school young professionals in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls to foundational skills and career opportunities in the fields of Regenerative Agriculture, Environmental Stewardship, Culinary Arts and Nutrition Education through hands-on, work-based learning in farms, kitchens, and neighborhoods throughout RI. Convened by Southside Community Land Trust, the partnership brings together Farm Fresh RI’s Harvest Kitchen, Groundwork RI as well as local farming, culinary arts, and nutrition education institutions to provide youth holistic exposure to the careers shaping the region’s food system as well as the tactile job readiness skills necessary for student success in college and in a career.

Young Voices - The Unlimited Dreams 2.0 partnership will expose low-income, minority youth ages 14 to 18 from Pawtucket, Central Falls and Providence.  The youth will be exposed to careers in the industries of Banking & Finance, STEAM Biology, Pharmacy, Animal Science & Oceanography and Educational Policy. This unique Real Skills partnership represents both new and ongoing collaborations among Young Voices, TD Bank, the Great Schools Partnership, and the University of Rhode Island. In addition to reporting a high level of satisfaction during the program, many Young Voices participants have since gone on to succeed in the professional world, due in no small part to the productive relationships established with their summer mentors.

East Bay Community Action Program - The East Bay Real Skills for Youth partnership will serve in-school and out-of-school youth in the East Bay. Convened by East Bay Community Action Program, the partnership brings together across East Providence & Newport. The partnership will expose youth to careers in industries including but not limited to Information Technology, Culinary, Education, Public Administration, Graphic Design, Arts & Entertainment, Sports Management, Tourism & Hospitality, Agriculture and Land Management. Programming will allow youth to apply and develop their academic, technical & professional skills while realizing the relevance of their education and its connection to the real world. All placements will help prepare youth for college, long-term training, and future careers.

RI Marine Trades Association - RIMTA’s Marine Trades Summer Work and Learn Program will serve youth ages 14-24 in the Newport County, Woonsocket and East Bay area and provide a work-based learning and work-readiness curriculum that includes but is not limited to woodworking, tool handling, hull building and painting. Students will have a hands-on experience building a wooden boat from scratch (boat styles will vary according to instructor expertise and/or location relevance). Participants combine classroom studies in STEM with fieldwork experiences to build a wooden boat and explore marine physics and engineering concepts such as density, buoyancy and why boats float. Youth participants will focus on marine trades and composite industries.

Comprehensive Community Action Program - The Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP) Real Skills for Youth partnership will expose Cranston, Pawtucket, Providence, and Kent County-area youth ages 14 to 24 to high-quality career exploration, career readiness and work-based learning activities leading to employment. Youth will be exposed to careers including but not limited to Welding, IT, Marine Manufacturing, Customer Service, Graphic Communications, STEM, Construction and Wood fabrication, Cyber security & Entrepreneurial Development. Convened by CCAP, the partnership brings together municipal, community, business, and industry partners to provide high-quality career exploration and readiness, and work-based learning activities guiding youth towards a successful career and college experience. 

Tri-County Community Action Agency - The Tri-County Youth Center partnership will provide career exploration, job readiness, and work-based learning experiences to youth in the towns of Johnston, North Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, Scituate, Glocester, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Charlestown, Richmond, Hopkinton, Exeter, West Greenwich, Westerly, and Narragansett. Convened by Tri-County Community Action Agency, the partnership brings together a variety of members including youth-serving organizations, industry representatives and employers, and training partners to provide youth with the information they need to identify long-term career goals and the skills necessary to achieve those goals.

Newport Community School - The Newport Community School in collaboration with local schools and community partners, will provide educational opportunities to complement classroom learning and support academic success, personal responsibility, and economic self-sufficiency in a vibrant engaged community. The Newport Real Skills for Youth partnership will offer students out-of-school time enrichment programs and activities linked to career awareness & exploration providing participating students the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of jobs and careers, with a particular focus in the healthcare industry.

Blackstone Valley Community Action Program - The Blackstone Valley Community Action Program Real Skills for Youth Summer Program 2022 partnership will provide youth ages 14 to 18 living in Pawtucket, Central Falls, Lincoln, Cumberland, or North Smithfield with internship opportunities focused on introducing them to professional skillsets. Convened by Blackstone Valley Community Action Program, the partnership brings together the Pawtucket City Hall, Boys and Girls Club of Pawtucket, Central Falls City Hall, BVCAP Woodlawn Community Center, Segue Institute for Leaning, Progresso Latino and other community partners.  BVCAP will provide activities covering academic, technical, and essential skills in a real life or simulated work environment as well as comprehensive career exploration, resume development and interview skills, collaboration and teamwork, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving, and professionalism for the Summer of 2022.  

Community Care Alliance - The Northern RI Combined Partnership will serve youth in the Woonsocket area who will engage in career exploration activities and be exposed to a variety of industries including but not limited to marine trades, computer technology, communications, education, and construction. Participants will build industry knowledge, further develop essential skills that are needed in the workplace and advance their education leading to a pathway of college or career. CCA works to bring workforce development opportunities, ages 14-24, to recognize and meet the individual needs of each participant. All community partners are required to utilize a holistic, strengths- based approach when implementing workforce development services that include participant-centered planning, social/emotional supports, and leadership development. Each community partner will provide work readiness training, essential skill building, work-based learning opportunities and connections with employers in high demand industries throughout the state.

Connecting For Children and Families - The Real Skills Partnership for Woonsocket Youth will provide career exploration and job readiness programming to Woonsocket High School students during the summer and academic year 2022-2023. Convened by Connecting for Children and Families, the partnership brings together the Real Jobs Partnership of Northern Rhode Island, the Woonsocket Education Department, and the Woonsocket High School in their individual and collective efforts to engage high school students, promote curiosity and confidence and lay the foundation for a stable and work-ready workforce of the future.

Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner - The Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner’s Westerly Education Center will partner with Rhode Island College’s RIC HUB, a workforce development center in Central Falls, Central Falls High School, the Central Falls School District and Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, to engage a group of high school students during a summer work readiness program to become or continue to be Tech Leaders, trained to provide Information Technology (IT) support during the academic year to Central Falls High School and the Central Falls School District. RIOPC supports the work of the Board of Education and Council on Postsecondary education in providing an excellent, accessible, and affordable system of higher education designed to improve the overall educational attainment of the citizens of Rhode Island, support economic development, and enrich the civic, social, and cultural life of all living in the state of Rhode Island.

DownCity Design - The Summer and Academic year 2022-2023 Design Studio partnership will engage Providence teens in an intensive work-based service-learning experience where youth participants will discover potential career pathways in Rhode Island’s thriving Design, Construction, and Advanced Manufacturing industries. Participants will work with real-world clients who present our young designers with authentic challenges that can be addressed through design. 

Inspiring Minds - The Inspiring Explorers partnership will expose youth of color and bilingual youth to careers in teaching and learning through a work- based experience, skill-based workshops, and mentoring. Convened by Inspiring Minds, the partnership brings together Rhode Island College and Providence Public Schools to expose youth to the myriad of career opportunities in the Public Education System. This project aims to increase exposure for multilingual and multiethnic youth to teaching to expand the existing pipeline and grow our own teachers. They reflect the demographics, culture, and speak the languages of our students. The target demographic is youth ages 14-24 who are multilingual and or multiethnic and desire to learn more about careers working in Providence Public Schools. 

Federal Hill House - Federal Hill House (FHH) is a multi-service community-based organization that has been serving low-income, immigrant, and limited English-speaking individuals and families in the City of Providence since 1887. The Federal Hill House Real Skills for Youth partnership: Achieving Change Together will lead youth participants through a six-week service-learning program for middle school-youth focusing on community-wide issues and the importance of advocating for systemic change, specifically in education and public service. 

Providence Public Library - The Providence Public Library’s ‘Technology Skills Pathway for Youth Partnership’ partnership will serve youth ages 14 to 18 to inspire, inform, and prepare youth, particularly from underserved and diverse backgrounds, to thrive in their future education and careers by building 21st century, work readiness, and technical skills and career awareness. Students will be exposed to and work with Rhode Coders 2.0 programs and Computer Aided Design.  Teens will work with local non-profit agencies to assist in the development of data systems and visualizations that help address internal, systemic needs. Youth participants will also be exposed to courses on programming and coding using HTML, CSS and Java Script and web development fundamentals. 

Interested in getting involved? 

Please email us at to get started!