DESIGNxRI is pleased to announce DESIGN FORWARD RI, three new partnership programs that aim to strengthen design sector skills and career development in RI. Funded by a Real Jobs RI grant, the Advance, Emerge and Explore programs are relevant for designers at different stages of their career and will help build professional learning, design experience, networking capability and mentorship.


The Advance program works with mid-level career designers by offering strategic design skills and adding know-how and new strategies to already successful design careers.

Advance your strategic design skills!

In this four-month skills advancement program, designers increase capabilities in leading dialogue and thinking, improve facilitation and user-experience design, and explore design thinking for innovation strategies. Participants are sponsored by their employers. The program is free to participants.

The DESIGN FORWARD RI Advance Program includes:

  • Once a month, day-long sessions
  • Professional development in strategic design skills
  • A unique network of designers and peers spanning across design disciplines
  • Hands-on learning and workshops

What we’re looking for:

Talented and experienced RI designers with a drive to advance their skills and interest in applying strategic processes to their work. Designers should be employed by companies willing to take part in the DESIGN FORWARD RI program.

How to apply:

Contact us at 401-427-0811 or or click on the link below to fill out an application today.


The Emerge program is for recent design graduates launching their design careers - and their Rhode Island employers. The DESIGN FORWARD RI Emerge Cohort program supports the growth and development of fresh design talent through training, mentorship and a social network.

Be Part of the Emerge Cohort

The DESIGN FORWARD RI Emerge Cohort is a new program that supports fresh design talent in companies throughout Rhode Island. This program will bring together a cohort of talented young designers who want to develop and accelerate growth in their burgeoning professional design life.

Cohort members will benefit from a being part of a network of peers also navigating the exciting and challenging environment of being a new practicing designer in the workplace.

12-15 cohort members will be selected to participate in 2016-2017 program.

The DESIGN FORWARD RI Emerge Cohort program provides:

  • (5) 3-hour class sessions of Professional Development with a design industry focused curriculum
  • Social outings and networking
  • Programs crafted to support current work environment

What we’re looking for:

  • Driven, dynamic, and talented individuals, graduated between May 2014 and August 2016 with a degree in design, and currently working at Rhode Island’s innovative workplaces or committed to a independent design career.
  • Companies in Rhode Island that hired newly graduated designers in the past 18 months and want to nurture their talent and professional skills.

How to apply:

Contact us at 401-427-0811 or or click on the link below to fill out an application today.


The Explore Design! program is an exciting summer session for RI youth ages 14 to 18. Introductions to graphic design, industrial design and architecture are the focus of this six-week summer camp!

For a 6-week design discovery program!

Ever wondered how graphic designers create new logos for companies? How architects shape spaces? Or how industrial designers improve the products we use every day to make our lives easier?

In this exciting new summer opportunity, we’ll explore the skills involved in beginning a career in graphic design, industrial + product design, and architectural design. You’ll work with experienced designers to tackle real-world design projects, while learning the basics of design software, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and SketchUp Pro. Fun weekly field trips and visits from practicing professionals will help you decide if a design career is right for you. You’ll come away with a ton of new skills and a digital portfolio that showcases your work.

Explore Design! is open to all RI youth ages 14 to 18. Participants who meet our attendance requirements will receive pay stipends. No previous design or software skills are necessary. We’ll teach you everything you need to know!

How to register:

Click on the link below to fill out a registration form or stop by Down City Design at 425 West Fountain Street to pick up an application.

employers of design

We need you! The Real Jobs RI program is designed to meet the skills gap challenges of employers. DESIGN FORWARD RI supports your design employees as well as onboarding of a recent design graduate at minimal and sometimes no expense to you.!

DESIGN FORWARD implements workforce training strategies to ensure that existing designers are adapting in response to emerging trends, that emerging designers have the supports they need to find success in the workplace, and that the designers of the future are aware of possible design career pathways and are developing the skills necessary to pursue them.

Use this link below to let us know of your interest in participating - or to get more information.