United Way forges path to future opportunities this Saturday

Posted 8/16/23

United way of Rhode Island is hosting a free “Power the Future” youth and family career exploration clinic this Saturday at the R.I. Convention Center to provide an opportunity to explore …

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United Way forges path to future opportunities this Saturday


United way of Rhode Island is hosting a free “Power the Future” youth and family career exploration clinic this Saturday at the R.I. Convention Center to provide an opportunity to explore new career paths.

Students from local middle and high schools across Rhode Island are invited to attend along with their families. The event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and registration, sign-ups and additional information can be found at

 In addition to the event being free, those attending can look forward to a complimentary lunch and free parking, in the convention center garage, as well.

“There are a number of youth events, not enough, but there a definitely a number of youth events out there, and we wanted to do something a little different,” United Way’s president and CEO Cortney Nicolato said. “Some have catered to specific districts or maybe a specific need or interest area. So, there’s not enough of this kind of stuff and not enough that also supports adults and the families. We’ve gotten such great feedback and excitement about the event and what we’re planning to do.”

“Power the Future” is a unique, empowering day that aims to foster connections between Rhode Island students and the state’s emerging career opportunities and industries, including bio and life sciences, offshore wind, labor, entrepreneurship, technology, public service, finance, and more.

Throughout the day, guest speakers, and more than 30 of the state’s top businesses and organizations, will be exhibitors and presenters with many offering immersive and experiential workshops.

“We’ve reached out to teacher  unions,” Nicolato said of some of the ways the event was publicized. “Teachers are the ones who know students the best. We’ve also reached out to all the superintendents of all the schools in Rhode Island and the principals association. There has really been a wide net cast to get the word out to folks. We know it’s the summer and it can be super hard to get people connected, but we have almost 400 Rhode Islanders who have already signed up to attend. We know that will be well over 500 by the time we get to the event based on the pacing.”

United Way has invited a variety of businesses, colleges and representatives of different trades to help provide the most comprehensive offering of opportunities that they could to both the youth and adults who will be attending the clinic.

“We have 40 exhibitors,” Nicolato clarified. “The trades are all represented, but this is our first year. So, anything like this is a work in progress. When we created ‘401 Gives’ we knew that the first year was going to be kind of a building period. We’ll be thrilled just with the numbers we’ve seen so far. I think that people are really seeing and getting exited about it.”

Among the participating employers are Brown Medicine, University of Rhode Island, RISD, Brown University, STEAM Box, AFL-CIO, and more. Additionally, the event will feature adult learning opportunities to benefit parents and guardians looking to further their own education. Exhibitors from almost 40 businesses and institutions  will set up at the event, which include well known organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern RI, Community College of RI, The Genesis Center, RIPTA,  Roger Williams University, Skills for Rhode Island’s Future and more. 

“I think our focus was creating immersive and hands-on experiences for youth and family members,” Nicolato said of United Way’s hopes for the event. “So, when I think about youth there are a couple of things that come to mind off the top of my head that are really cool. There is going to be a non-profit organization there called STEAM Box Rhode Island that is going to provide podcasting support and an introduction to what podcasting is, what equipment it takes and how to use all of it. There will be immersive experiences with oceanography from URI. People will even be able to actually create art with RISD. There will just be a lot of really cool stuff meant to be hands-on and interactive.”

There is a long list of speakers, exhibitors and sponsors that helped to make this event happen for those needing to prepare themselves for the job market, like the many students attending, but also for those looking to change up their career later in life, like their parents and guardians.

Adults at the Convention Center can look forward to a program called Rhode Island Reconnect. This program that United Way runs in conjunction with the state focuses on upscaling and adult certification programs. There will also be representatives of the Society for Health Resources Management who will be working on resume reviews and mock interviews. Nicolato said there will be a wide variety of panels, discussions and opportunities for both the students and adults attending to help a variety of people plan or improve their prospects for the future throughout the day.

Presenters, story tellers and exhibitors for the event will be: Christina Alderman – Presenter, Wujuudat O Balogun - Co-Host Youth of Young Voices, Chelsea Berry – Presenter University of Rhode Island, Cynthia Bonn - Dean Of Admissions University of Rhode Island, Rachel Briggs – Storyteller Rhode Island Black Storytellers, Ryan Camara – Presenter BankNewport, Marlon Carey – Storyteller Rhode Island Black Storytellers, Charles A Carvalho – Host Beatbox Studio, Gary Convertino – Speaker 3P HR Consulting and Coaching, Lynn J Corwin – Presenter  Rhode Island Society for Human Resource Management (RI SHRM), Brenton DeBoef - Dean of the Graduate School University of Rhode Island, Wendy Nadherny Fachon – Presenter Story Walking Radio Hour, Cristina Feden – Presenter Berkshire Bank, Lexus Fernandez – Presenter Soulita, DJ Flip - Main Stage DJ Flip Mercedes, Daishanay Francis – Presenter Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island, Andrea Gingras - University of Rhode Island, Ed Givens - University or Rhode Island, Roberto Gonzalez – Presenter STEAM Box, Chris Jasinski – Presenter Ace Mentor Program Rhode Island, Mariam Kaba - Main Stage Speaker Woonsocket Senior High School, James Kwon – Presenter Figmints Digital Creative Marketing, Beth Laliberte - Teaching Professor University of Rhode Island, Marco Antonio Lima - Co-HostYoung Voices, Kevin Matta - Presenter RI SHRM, Netia McCray – Presenter Mbadika, Jully Myrthil - Co-Host Young Voices, Kelly Nevins – Presenter Women's Fund of Rhode Island, Tonja Potter – Presenter Cap Ex Advisory Group, Joe Raposo – Presenter Site Specific, Salem Reiner – Partner Cap Ex Asvisory Group, Marcy Reyes – Presenter Financial Literacy Youth Initiative, Juan Rodriguez – Presenter Winners' Circle XR Academy, Inc, Rebecca Romanow - University of Rhode Island, John Stein – Presenter Brown University, Olivia Sylva - Danyson Tavares - Project Development Manager YouthBuild Boston, Zainabou Thiam – Speaker Sunu Body and Silence is Violence Coalition, Pam Thornton – Presenter Employers Association of the North East, Valerie Tutson – Storyteller Rhode Island Black Storytellers, Mary Ann Upton, AIA – Partner designLAB Architects, Beth Very – Presenter University of Rhode Island, Chuck Watson – Presenter University of Rhode Island, Anuradha Weerakkody – Presenter University of Rhode Island, Joi-Danelle Whitehead - Main Stage Speaker Brown University, Juan Wilson - Presenter and Main Stage Speaker The MUSE Foundation and Erin Woo – Presenter Brown University.

United Way, careers, future


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