WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Dan Mckee, Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and other local and state leaders were at the grand opening ceremony for the Woonsocket Education Center Tuesday morning.

The ceremony marks the transformation of the third floor of a vacant and former mill building at 115 Main Street into a much-needed workforce and job skills training center.

“As a former small business owner, I appreciate the economic impact of and essential need for a talented workforce enriched by excellent training and education,” McKee said. “Investing in Rhode Islanders earns dividends for small businesses, large businesses and spurs economic development.”

It will be managed by the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner and is modeled after a center in Westerly that opened in 2017.

Currently, the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and New England Institute of Technology are using the classrooms for coursework and training.

Any company can rent out space for seminars or training and can work with higher education partners. One example is CVS, which opened a Workforce Innovation Talent Center that features a CVS Pharmacy simulated retail environment for hands-on career skills training in high-demand fields.

“Our center provides a holistic approach to workforce development that will activate our dynamic partners here in Woonsocket and throughout our business enterprise to break down barriers to employment,” said CVS Health Workforce Initiatives Executive Director, Ernest Dupont.

The Woonsocket Education Center’s mission is, “to increase educational attainment by offering a range of high-quality curricula that is responsive to employer and community needs in northern Rhode Island.”