Initial $4 million grant to support youth training and job support
At a press conference today, Governor Donald L. Carcieri, joined by Senate President M. Teresa Paiva-Weed and Director of Labor and Training Sandra Powell, announced details of the nearly $17.2 million in workforce training and employment grants funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
This workforce development stimulus package includes:
- $7.9 million in Workforce Investment Act funds to help laid-off workers find appropriate employment or job training;
- $5.6 million in Workforce Investment Act funds to help youth prepare for and connect to the workforce;
- $2.1 million in Workforce Investment Act funds to help long-term unemployed Rhode Islanders re-enter the workforce; and
- $1.5 million in Wagner-Peyser funds to offer re-employment services and netWORKri one-stop career services for all Rhode Islanders.
"This assistance from the federal government will enable unemployed Rhode Islanders to receive the training they need to find new jobs in this challenging economy,” said Speaker William Murphy. “It will also provide invaluable help for our young people to attain the appropriate skills they need to be ready to enter the workforce."
Senate President Paiva Weed said, "Of all the stimulus projects, this critical investment in the state's human capital will yield the highest dividends. The grants will help Rhode Islanders who are out of work gain the skills they need to re-enter the workforce, and help Rhode Island in its transition from a 20th century, manufacturing-based economy to a 21st century, high skill or knowledge-based economy."
The Department of Labor and Training and the state and local workforce investment boards have provided the following service level estimates: 3,500 adult and dislocated workers and 2,000 youth (ages 14-24) through the Workforce Investment Act funding; and 4,000 additional Rhode Islanders through Wagner-Peyser funding.
“The Department of Labor and Training and its workforce partners are collaborating with the state’s high-growth industries and educational institutions so that the ARRA investments we make in Rhode Island workers are strategic investments with sustainable outcomes,” said Director of Labor and Training Sandra M. Powell.
The first ARRA workforce development initiative to be funded in Rhode Island will be the Summer Youth Employment Opportunities program. This week, the Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island and Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston plan to announce an initial $4-million Request for Proposals for community-based organizations, non-profit organizations, for-profit companies, public agencies and educational institutions to provide summer work experience, work readiness and academic enrichment programming for approximately 2,000 additional youth ages 14 to 24. Program may start as soon as early June and can run from six to 18 weeks. Participating youth will receive a stipend and/or wage for their work.
In the RFP process, priority will be given to programs that expose youth to careers in the following growth industries: health care, construction, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, marine technology, information technology, hospitality & tourism and financial services. In addition, special preference will be given to vendors that incorporate "green industries" educational components and career pathways into their programs. "Green industries" include but are not limited to solar and geothermal energy, wind-power design and environmentally friendly building materials and techniques.
Strategies for ARRA workforce development funds are guided by the Governor's Workforce Board Strategic Workforce Plan, a comprehensive evaluation of Rhode Island workforce needs over the next five years. The strategic plan, developed over the past 18 months by the Governor's Workforce Board in conjunction with more than 140 business, government, non-profit and labor leaders, offers 95 unique strategies for workforce development and four major goals:
- Goal 1: The public workforce development system grows, retains and attracts talent.
- Goal 2: Employers attract and retain a highly skilled workforce.
- Goal 3: The adult workforce is skilled and agile.
- Goal 4: Youth are ready for work and lifelong learning.