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Governor Chafee Signs Historic Apprenticeship Program into Existence at Annual Meeting for the Governor's Workforce Board

Warwick, RI – During the annual meeting of the Governor's Workforce Board at the Crowne Plaza Hotel today, Governor Lincoln D. Chafee signed the paperwork for the CNC Machinist Registered Apprenticeship. This is the state's first use of general revenue funding toward workforce development. It was proposed by Governor Chafee in Article 15 of his Fiscal Year 2014 budget, and the program is the first registered apprenticeship for manufacturing in Rhode Island. Up to $150,000 was allocated in the FY 2014 budget to develop core elements of the non-traditional apprenticeship programs, including classroom curriculum, on-the-job training and sponsors, which are single employers, multi-employer consortia or unions.

"The Governor's Workforce Board is committed to helping the next generation gain work experience and the skills necessary for employment," Governor Chafee said. "This apprenticeship program will allow participants to work while they learn, and also require businesses to be involved in both the design and the delivery of skills training."

"It is critical that we provide potential employers with the education and training skills that will prepare them for the jobs of the future," Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said. "I share the commitment of the Governor's Workforce Board to get people back to work through programs such as this one."

Senator Erin P. Lynch said, "Apprenticeship programs such as the CNC Machinist Apprenticeship program are effective tools to better equip the Rhode Island workforce with the skills they need for success in today's economy. The Senate continues to focus on workforce development as an essential component of our economic development efforts. These efforts are critical to retaining existing companies, attracting new ones, and creating jobs for Rhode Islanders."

The theme of the meeting was "Investing in the Future." It featured a new video production that, in addition to showing success stories from GWB-funded programs, included interviews with Rhode Island businesses, training providers, workers and youth.

In addition to the Governor's approval of the non-trade apprenticeship program, he also presented a GWB Innovation Award to Tunstall Americas for its commitment to workforce development, active participation in public-private partnerships and contribution to the economic development of Rhode Island. Tunstall Americas has participated in On-the-Job training, the Work Immersion program and the Incumbent Worker Training program. Shared investment by Tunstall and the State of Rhode Island has resulted in more than 300 Rhode Island jobs.

During the annual meeting, a panel discussion on the RI Work Immersion program was led by GWB Coordinator Sherri Carello and included panelists from two companies that have participated in the Work Immersion Program, along with their respective interns: Mike Donohue, Executive Vice President, Utilidata; Sophia Tsang, Work Immersion participant, Brown University; Deborah Schimberg, President, Verve, Inc.; and Natalie Brown, Work Immersion participant, Verve, Inc.

Work Immersion provides 50-percent wage subsidies to Rhode Island businesses that offer a paid internship or work experience of up to 200 hours to a college student or unemployed adult. Up to $500,000 was allocated in the FY 2014 budget to fund Work Immersion activities.

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