Bally's Corporation announced on Thursday a donation of $5 million to the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) Foundation to develop and launch new educational programs in the gaming, hospitality, and security industries, as part of its long-term partnership. Bally’s investment represents the largest single donation in the community college’s 60-year history.
The partnership was formally announced during an event hosted on CCRI's Flanagan Campus. Governor Daniel McKee, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, House Majority Leader Chris Blazejewski, Bally's Chairman Soo Kim, CCRI Interim President Rosemary A. Costigan, Ph.D., R.N., and former CCRI President Meghan Hughes were in attendance, among other distinguished guests.
"It is an honor to partner with CCRI on such an exciting and important initiative. We are proud to play an integral part in offering higher education opportunities for Rhode Island's workforce, creating new jobs, and driving economic development. Rhode Island is our home, and continued investment in its local communities and workforces will always be a top priority for us," said Bally's Chairman.
"While this donation is the latest milestone in our long-term partnership with CCRI, we look forward to supporting this program for many years to come, creating a legacy of economic opportunity," he added.
Bally's Chairman Soo Kim
For his part, Governor McKee commented: "This landmark partnership between Bally's and CCRI will provide important learning and training for our CCRI students, leading to new workforce opportunities."
"The generous gift provided by one Rhode Island-based company for the benefit of so many of our state's community college students is a powerful way to advance economic and social opportunity and teach meaningful, transferable workforce skills. I applaud Bally's for investing in our state's higher education system and our students," he noted.
Governor Daniel McKee
As a result of this investment, CCRI will become the only higher education institution in Rhode Island, and one of a few higher education institutions in New England, to offer students the opportunity to obtain a certificate or associate degree based on "a comprehensive gaming-focused curriculum."
The program will include traditional classroom learning, online courses, on-campus learning labs, and opportunities to work at a Bally's property, and consists of casino, hospitality, and hotel management-specific courses such as dealer training, casino operations, cybersecurity, iGaming operations, culinary arts, hotel management, and slot technology.
CCRI will initially focus on working with faculty and staff to build out the course curriculum with the goal of having degree programs available by Fall 2024. Simultaneously, the college's Division of Workforce Partnerships will quickly develop and launch short-term credentials to upskill Bally's existing workforce and create a talent pipeline of new employees.
In addition to new certificate and degree program development, Bally's investment will provide scholarships to qualifying Rhode Islanders seeking a career in the growing gaming and hospitality industries.
"This remarkable gift recognizes the College's track record in expanding new programs and degree pathways for students. The initiative, developed in partnership with Bally's and CCRI teams, will provide CCRI students with new opportunities to learn and work as the best version of themselves," CCRI Interim President Costigan commented.
"Our partnership brings attention to the unparalleled value of community colleges and their powerful role in the region's economy, and I am grateful for Bally's belief in us and our incredible students," Costigan further added.
CCRI Interim President Rosemary A. Costigan
CCRI, the largest public institution of higher education in the state, educates nearly 20,000 students each year. Notably, the school is designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the United States Department of Education and serves more low-income students and students of color than any other higher education institution in the state.