American Student Assistance Grant to Help Place High-School Students with Local Business, Some NEC Members

Council member American Student Assistance has awarded a three-year, $1.5 million grant to a Rhode Island nonprofit, Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, to help high-school seniors develop professional skills through internships.

The grant will fund Skills for Rhode Island’s Future’s PrepareRI internship program, which pairs high school seniors with local business partners for a paid summer internship. The program, founded in 2016, has placed almost 500 students with employers since its inception, and has plans to place 425 new students and hire three new job coaches this year. Some partners include other NEC members, such as Citizens Bank and Gilbane Building Company.

“We have a huge equity gap where, depending on your zip code, often there’s different levels of access to opportunity, to network, to get into the job market,” said Barbara Cottam, Rhode Island market executive for Citizens Bank and chairwoman of the state’s Board of Education.  She added “I think this program is phenomenal. It brings in all students, it is blind to any of those barriers, and it gives each student a summer experience in a professional environment where they can contribute to the company and also define their career paths and what they want to do.”

The Council congratulates American Student Assistance for its work to improve access to post-secondary professional opportunities for students across Rhode Island. Read more in The Providence Journal.

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