Providence, RI –At the annual meeting of the Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island (WPGRI) today, Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced $2.1 million in state and federal funding for youth summer work experiences.
"We recognize the importance of providing real work experience to the next generation of our labor force," Governor Chafee said. "Through these summer jobs, Rhode Island youth learn hands-on technical skills, workplace expectations and financial responsibility habits that could not only launch them into a successful career path but also a successful life."
The Governor's Workforce Board, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT), the RI Department of Human Services (DHS), the Governor's Workforce Board (GWB) and the state's two local workforce investment boards—Workforce Partnership of Greater RI and Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston (WSP/C)—collaborated to fund and administer the 2014 Summer Youth Work Experience Program.
Beginning in July, more than 20 community-based organizations throughout the state will offer a combination of work experience and work readiness training to approximately 1,400 youth ages 14-24. Work experiences run the gamut of industries, including information technology, health care, hospitality, arts, marine trades, construction and manufacturing.
David Brouillard, a youth currently participating in YouthWorks411 programs through Tri-Town Community Action, spoke about his experience in marine trades pre-apprenticeship training and the resulting offer of work at Pirate Cove Marina in Portsmouth. He was recognized with a Youth Excellence award from WPGRI Executive Director Nancy J. Olson. Other attendees at the WPGRI annual meeting included Pirate Cove owner/manager Brandon Kidd, DLT Deputy Director Lisa D'Agostino, DHS Director Sandra M. Powell, GWB Executive Director Rick Brooks, WPGRI Chair Steven H. Kitchin, WSP/C Chair Janet Raymond and WSP/C Administrator Robert L. Ricci. Numerous representatives from community-based organizations involved in work placement and work readiness training also turned out to support the summer youth work experience program.
The Governor's Workforce Board has allocated $1.5 million in Job Development Fund dollars for this initiative; DHS has allocated $600,000 of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) funding. While families must meet federal income guidelines to qualify for the 349 TANF-funded youth employment opportunities, no such income limitations are required for the 991 state-funded opportunities. Funding will subsidize wages for youth employed by participating public, private and non-profit businesses.
"Summer jobs keep young people actively engaged, while also teaching them the skills they need to be successful throughout college and their careers," said DLT Director Charles J. Fogarty. "The Department of Labor and Training is pleased to foster opportunities that can help young people gain workforce experience and exposure to a variety of career and training options."
Participants enter the summer work experience through YouthWorks411—a system of 14 youth workforce development centers throughout Rhode Island. Participants are required to complete a workplace certification such as occupational safety or customer service training; certifications vary from program to program. Most work experience programs run for 20 hours each week for six weeks, during which time youth earn minimum wage. Vendors for the programs have been chosen through a Request for Proposals process, and will be overseen by the two local workforce investment boards: the Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island and Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston.
Youth are encouraged to connect with the nearest YouthWorks411 Center to explore vocational programs and skills training for which they may qualify (listing below).
Below is a listing of summer youth work experience programs funded through this collaborative initiative.