The Big One
A breakdown on the week’s biggest Inno story.
For Keith Cooper, founder and executive director of Rhode Island startup Beautiful Day, his 10-year-old enterprise looks to help area refugees gain work experience making high-quality granola.
“The refugee resettlement system in the United States is in a difficult place right now,” Cooper told Rhode Island Inno contributor Bram Berkowitz. “The system is under siege in different ways as arrivals slow and funding and supports are being pulled away, but we have a model to equip those with the greatest barriers to enter the workforce.”
Beautiful Day connects with refugees via organizations like the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, and its typical workers have “extremely high barriers to entry,” like lacking English speaking ability or cultural literacy.
“Most lack English language, but they can still learn pretty quickly how to look someone in the eyes during an interview,” Cooper said. “The primary skill we teach is confidence … In a lot of work settings you may not need much English, but you absolutely have to be able to communicate when you do or you don’t understand something. That takes confidence.”
Ultimately, Beautiful Day provides 200 hours of work to refugees throughout the startup’s granola production, as well as a stipend.
While the team produces a product sold in 50 states, Cooper said that Beautiful Day’s granola is really just a way to address a larger issue.
“People can do something about refugee resettlement; it doesn’t have to be this problem on the other side of the world that is too big to be a part of,” he continued. “That’s why I want to be selling granola bars. You might think this problem is too big, but by making a small choice about what you eat for breakfast or for a snack, you can provide crucial on-the-job training for someone who otherwise can’t get a job.”
Read the full story here. Get all our Rhode Island Inno stories here.
Inside the people, companies and organizations shaking things up this week.
The Providence-based Sprout Coworking has completed the expansion of its flagship location. The move doubled its size, bringing the complex to 8,000 square feet. It includes seven new private offices, an eight-person meeting room and an additional hot desk space that doubles as an event space. Read the full story on Rhode Island Inno here.
Rhode Island Foundation
“Together RI,” a series of community meetings throughout the state, is Rhode Island Foundation’s newest offering, WPRI.com reports. The free meetings, which will provide meals, offers an opportunity for attendees to discuss both the challenges and victories that Rhode Island is facing.
Providence-based Lifespan has announced that it will begin formal talks with Partners HealthCare and Care New England in an effort to “improve health care in Rhode Island,” The Brown Daily Herald reports. “By combining the talent, experience and resources of our like-minded, provider-based organizations, we envision creating a national model that fully leverages the integration and coordination of care,” the entities said in a joint statement.
Providence-based dimensional metrology equipment company Mahr Inc. has promoted Don Foisy to Director of Operations. Foisy previously served as design engineering supervisor and more recently, engineering manager.
In The Know
The Inno stories (and more) you need to read today.
Ocean State Update: The Biggest Rhode Island Tech & Startup News from February — Rhode Island Inno
The Death of the Internet Cookie — Axios
Like It Or Not, Personal Health Technology Is Getting Smarter — RI NPR
Uber’s Self-Driving Truck Scheme Hinges on Logistics, Not Tech — Wired