Michael Van Leesten, CEO of the OIC of Rhode Island stated Nick brings a solid educational background with broad management and planning responsibilities in the public and private sector. Equally important is his commitment to matters of equity and the leadership he has exhibited through the years as a responsible advocate for change. Nick is a welcome addition to the team at OIC and the partnership with the Providence School Departments Career and
Mr. Figueroa has a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration degree from Roger Williams University and a Masters of Arts in Education from the University of Rhode Island. His prior work experiences include the following: Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Framingham State University, Assistant Dean of Enrollment Services at CCRI Lincoln Campus; Director of Multicultural Recruitment Roger Williams University; and Supervisor of Member Services and Urgent Care at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.
His present volunteer work includes chairing the Univocal Legislative Minority Advisory Coalition, which advocates legislation that improves the lives of those in urban communities. He is also a member of Welcoming Rhode Island which assists refugees and immigrants integrate into the local community. He was the past Vice President of the NAACP, a board member of the Times Squared Academy Charter, and Vice President of the RI Latino Civic Fund. The Providence American caught up with Nick Figueroa and asked about his plans as the new Director of Adult Training & Employment program at OIC.
PA: First of all Nick I would like to say congratulations on your new appointment at OIC. Nick most recently you have been providing independent consultant services and teaching as an adjunct professor at CCRI. As the new Director of Adult Training at OIC what will your mission be?
NF: Well besides providing support and developmental guidance to the staff and participants of the OIC Program my mission is very mush in concert with OICs overall mission and that is to develop and deliver job skills that are needed in todays economy. Developing ready job skills will assist in the economic success of the state and more importantly support the overall health and wealth of the community.
PA: What are some of the trades and or occupations that OIC is providing training for?
NF: There are several opportunities to learn job skills in Welding, Heating & A/C, Plumbing, Graphic Design, DSL and GED classes just to name a few popular areas of study. However we plan to expand the offerings in the future as we partner with other institutions of higher learning to improve the States overall workforce. Currently we are working with the Providence School Department, Roger Williams University, the University of Rhode Island and of course the Community College system of Rhode Island.
PA: When will you begin your tenure at OIC and why OIC as your next challenge?
NF: I will begin my work at OIC on the 5/15th. Well I have always been interested in education. I hold a Masters Degree in Adult Education and have spent a significant part of my life advocating for civil and human rights. My involvement with ULMAC for instance and our efforts to eliminate racial profiling by Rhode Island Police Departments is an example of how education can bring about change. Educating the public, the police and our State Legislature in the negative impact of racial profiling is an example of how knowledge can assist in the overall health and safety of our communities, and is extremely important in proactively helping to strengthen our community economically.
PA: So what are some of your short and long term goals at OIC?
NF: In the short term I plan to improve program access at OIC and to make the programs more effective and efficient through improved outreach and faculty development. Long term we will need to expand the training programs we currently offer and to provide training opportunities on future growth industries such as Bio Tech, Green Jobs and electronic technology.
PA: On a more personal note Nick, what are your personal goals going into this new leadership role?
NF: I hope to see OIC become the preeminent Adult Education institution of choice for trade(s) training and development across the State, and not just in the urban core, as it might be perceived to be today.
PA: Well again Nick we would like to wish you well and the best in your new position as the entire community will benefit greatly by your contributions.