Questions about the 2021 Innovation Challenge? Email


The RI Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (OPC) is opening a higher education and workforce training center at 95-117 in Downtown Woonsocket. This facility will expand the offerings and programs that have been so successful at the Westerly Education Center (WEC) into Northern RI. To be successful, we are looking to pull together a holistic strategy that:

  • Identify and build relationships with community partners located in northern RI, including social services, chambers of commerce, local police and fire departments and local schools.
  • Ensure that we are not duplicating or infringing on any existing programs in the area by identifying existing training and educational offerings in the area.
  • Identify the employer-driven needs in Northern Rhode Island. Once the needs are identified, we need to work with employer and educational partners to build curriculums and workforce programs to offer to potential workers.
  • Identify funding opportunities to offset the costs of potential training programs.

Mission Statement

Next Stage RI connects and inspires those who are facing adversity and upcoming generations of Rhode Islanders to get to the next stage in their lives. We seek to offer the training that will prepare individuals for steady, well-paying jobs to the community of northern Rhode Island in order to increase the local workforce and tackle the hardships of unemployment.

Corporation Departments

Marketing & Communication

  • Anthony Castro
    William M. Davies Jr. Career-Technical High School
  • Jacob Merson
    Ponaganset High School
  • Karina Mejia
    William M. Davies Jr. Career-Technical High School
  • Mohammad Almajzoub
    Blackstone Academy Charter School
  • Tamarijn Alpaio
    Cranston High School East

Business & Finance

  • Alexis Cayard
    Cranston High School East
  • Carl-James Balmaceda
    Toll Gate High School
  • Ibukunoluwa Adelani
    Blackstone Valley Prep High School
  • Kyla Teixeira
    William E. Tolman Senior High School
  • Oscar Camacho
    North Providence High School

Research & Development

  • Gentry Sheridan
    Exeter-West Greenwich Regional High School
  • Jezell Green
    Rogers High School
  • Mareme Samate
    William M. Davies Jr. Career-Technical High School
  • Saloni Jain
    East Greenwich High School


  • Crismar Ramos
    Classical High School
  • Shadi Soufan
    Blackstone Academy Charter School
  • Aditi Mehta
    Mount Hope High School
  • Elliana Chambers
    Classical High School
  • Stephen Sequira
    North Providence High School



Susan Gamache

Career Navigator, Westerly Education Center

Jessica Pierson

Human Resources Policy and Procedure Manager, AVP Citizens Bank

Business Coaches

Rachel Doyle

Operations Manager, Westerly Education Center

Omar Reyes

Director of Adult Program & Policies, Westerly Education Center

Faith Hanson

Executive Assistant, Westerly Education Center