Bally’s Corporation announced a $5 million donation to the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) Foundation as part of its long-term partnership. This gift, which marks the largest in the Foundation’s nearly 45-year history and doubles the size of CCRI’s endowment, will increase pathways to higher education and provide economic opportunities for students interested in pursuing a career in the casino and gaming industries, as well as Bally’s employees looking to advance their skillsets.
Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim said: “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. 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.”
Governor Daniel McKee said: “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.”
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 a 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.
Rosemary A. Costigan, Interim President of CCRI, said: “This remarkable gift recognizes the College’s track record in expanding new programs and degree pathways for students. The initiative, developed in partnership with the Bally’s and CCRI teams, will provide CCRI students with new opportunities to learn and work as the best version of themselves. 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.”
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.
Former CCRI President Meghan Hughes said: “Bally’s $5 million contribution to the CCRI Foundation marks an extraordinary moment in the college’s history. This partnership between CCRI and Bally’s stands as a testament to the transformative power of education and industry collaboration. Through this initiative, we are investing in community college students and their future success.”
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, reflecting the Company’s continued commitment to creating opportunities for economic growth and development in the communities it serves. Additional details on this program, including scholarship opportunities, will be forthcoming.