Local Professionals Envisioning a New Rhode Island Together

By Sara Porcaro | Jul 6, 2021
Governor's Workforce Board, Governor's Coaching Corps, Disabilities, Rhode Island, UBI, Equity, Equality, Employment
Brittany and Fellow RIGCC Collaborators

Oftentimes, the best way to solve a problem is with teamwork--and making sure you have the right team members. For the Rhode Island Governor's Coaching Corps (RIGCC), an initiative facilitated by the Governor's Workforce Board, Skillful, and HR&A Advisors to promote longstanding, positive change and growth to our communities, picking the right team meant recruiting professionals from various industries to lend their expertise and understanding of their communities together to discuss how to best help vulnerable Rhode Islanders hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic--and in the six months since its beginnings, the RIGCC has not only visualized the needs of Rhode Islanders across races, genders, abilities, and more, but also developed a solution they hope to test in RI: Universal Basic Income (UBI).
On the RIGCC is Perspectives' Career Developer Brittany Dorrance, and since December, she's been working with professionals from Foster Forward, Community Care Alliance, the RI Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), HarborOne Bank, and West Elmwood Housing Corporation to tackle the issues that keep our communities stuck. Hers is a valuable perspective, as among race, gender, sexuality, and other factors to watch for in our journey to making a more equitable society, disability is another huge--and often under-discussed--topic that can often impact one's opportunities and socioeconomic status.
"For individuals with disabilities, one of the biggest benefits to employment is the status of their benefits," Brittany explains. "So many individuals are worried about how getting a job will impact their benefits, which, with a job or without, are vital to their quality of life. It's exciting to think of a day where we can provide a support [like UBI] that can go with their benefits, not instead of them."
"So many individuals are worried about how getting a job will impact their benefits, which, with a job or without, are vital to their quality of life. It's exciting to think of a day where we can provide a support [like UBI] that can go with their benefits, not instead of them."
To that end, Brittany and her peers have met virtually for weeks to discuss the many ways they could potentially alleviate the economic strain on Rhode Islanders across the board, and with UBI, they found the studies and data to suggest that, with a bit of a boost each month, struggling Rhode Islanders can do everything they need to do to become and stay stable. With studies showing increases in full-time employment, mental welfare, post-secondary education enrollment, and other positives, as well as a decrease in alcohol consumption and the ability for many to leave jobs they were unhappy with for jobs that paid well and brought them satisfaction, the studies so far have shown that alleviating just a bit of the stress of daily life, giving others a step up, can bring all of us up. They, along with other groups in the RIGCC, introduced their ideas and data in a webinar with RIPIN, where they presented to interested parties--including Governor McKee himself.
"We want to see this happen," says Brittany, "and now, we have to figure out how to move forward. We're passionate about it, and we won't stop here; this trial we want to propose will really help us learn how to best help our communities."
Now, while the actual workshops and meetings of the RIGCC are over, the team is continuing to keep in touch and working to put together a plan research the effects of UBI on Rhode Islanders. The specifics--requirements, sample size, and of course, funding--are important to nail down before sending a one page summary and proposal to the governor, and that means the crew has still been keeping in touch (and, with COVID-19 restrictions easing, meeting in person for the first time throughout the RIGCC).
"It was comfortable meeting in person because we all get along so well," says Brittany. "The RIGCC overall is just a great place to learn about yourself and others, make connections, feel supported in your ideas, and get really good work done. I had an awesome experience, and I'm excited to stay in touch with everyone."
Now, Brittany and her peers are getting into the swing of things, taking charge of the solutions together and working towards the start of a different way of living--and supporting our many fellow Rhode Islanders in the adjustment. The journey towards a post-COVID-19 word continues, and with dedicated professionals like these looking for ways to improve our communities, the future is certainly looking brighter each day. We're wishing them the best of luck in their endeavors, and congratulating them on work already well done!


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