PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo, joined by Senate Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere and Representative Samuel A. Azzinaro, today recognized one of the first classes of Real Jobs Rhode Island graduates in a ceremony at the Jonnycake Center of Westerly.
"We continue to focus relentlessly on helping Rhode Islanders builds the skills that matter to get jobs that pay," Raimondo said. "The Westerly Regional Real Jobs Partnership has taken an innovative, cooperative approach to helping people get the skills they need. I look forward to celebrating more Real Jobs successes in the months ahead."
In November, Raimondo announced that 26 strategic partnerships from more than 10 industries and 4 regions would split $5 million in funding through her demand-driven Real Jobs Rhode Island job-training program. Led by the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce, Westerly area employers and nonprofits produced a plan focusing on digital literacy, essential skills like effective communication and customer service orientation and job readiness skills.
Raimondo also participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of a new training and education classroom at the Jonnycake Center.
"I was happy to celebrate the graduation of these 19 hardworking people from the training program," Senate Majority Leader Algiere (R-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown) said. "We have been working for so long to bring programs like this partnership to the region. Offering people the chance to learn real skills that make them employable here and now is an invaluable asset, and opening this classroom will continue this work."
"Two months ago when we opened our town's new education and skills center, I said it was a great day for Westerly. Today's another great day for Westerly," House Deputy Majority Leader Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly) said. "When people learn new skills and get jobs, it can change the whole course of their lives. It improves our whole community's quality of life, too."
"Through our new classroom and the Real Jobs RI program, we will be bridging the skills gap and bringing down the barriers that prevent individuals in our community from securing and maintaining employment," Jonnycake Center of Westerly Executive Director Liz Pasqualini said. "We look forward to creating opportunities and meeting the needs of both current job seekers and our local business partners."
"In order to bridge the skills gap, jolt the economy, and come through for workers and employers alike, Rhode Island is building skills at scale, sector by sector, and in different regions of the state," Department of Labor and Training Director Scott Jensen said. "DLT is working every day to deliver on the Governor's promise of preparing workers and employers for success in the 21st century economy."
Nineteen participants - all from Westerly or Hopkinton, ranging from ages 18 to 60, unemployed or underemployed - completed the partnership's five-week program. Sixteen have already secured paid internships at area employers, including Westerly Hospital, Westerly Public Schools, Ocean Community YMCA, Valenti Toyota, First Physical Therapy, Westerly Public Library, Wilcox Park, Alley Katz Bowling Center, ServiceMaster by Mason and the Jonnycake Center of Westerly.
About Real Jobs RI
Real Jobs RI is a flexible demand-driven grant program that supports ideas from employers and partners of all sizes and connects people to job openings quickly. Planning and implementation grants help employers analyze the workforce demands of industry, cross-industry, and regional sectors over a sustained period of time and build partner relationships that will produce a stable pipeline of workers to existing jobs and help revitalize the RI economy. Each of the 26 Real Jobs partnerships produced and is now executing a detailed workforce training plan. The plans clearly state the sector's or region's needs, describe what the training is, how it will be implemented, what skills will be attained, and what goals/outcomes will be achieved.
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