PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today applauded the state receiving a $5 million American Apprenticeship Initiative Grant from the US Department of Labor. The co-applicants of this competitive grant are the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) and The Providence Plan.
"I hear often from employers who are looking for talented staff and who say that a skilled workforce is their number one priority," said Raimondo. "This apprenticeship grant marks another opportunity to invest in helping people build the skills they need to succeed. This will help people get jobs and also attract businesses to Rhode Island's 21st century economy."
Registered Apprenticeship programs are a core component of Raimondo's strategy to align the state's economic and workforce development actions with the needs of employers. Strong employer investment combined with good public policy has resulted in standardized training across many occupations. This grant will help expand and replicate the state's current apprenticeship model to new industry sectors.
"Our success in obtaining this grant is due to excellent coordination and support from our state's Congressional Delegation," continued Raimondo. "We greatly appreciate their continued advocacy on behalf of Rhode Island and getting people back to work."
In the past several months thanks to the continued advocacy of the Congressional Delegation, Rhode Island has received separate US Department of Labor grants of $5.2 million and $3 million to propel the Governor's employer-centered workforce development strategy.
"Apprenticeships provide a proven pathway for workers to learn advanced skills and earn higher wages without accumulating mountains of student loan debt. This federal grant will help ProvPlan and DLT team up to expand opportunities for workers, enhance skills training, and eliminate barriers to employment. It also provides employers with a solid pipeline of skilled workers," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who supported ProvPlan's grant application.
"Employers in the global economy need a workforce that can learn specific skills quickly. Helping Rhode Island businesses train workers on the job will help them keep up with the competition and grow our economy," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Health, Education, and Labor Committee. "Expanding our apprenticeship opportunities is a big win and I congratulate everyone at DLT and the Providence Plan on this funding."
"There is a disconnect in Rhode Island and across the country between the education and training programs that are available and the demands of our current workforce. Apprenticeships provide important educational opportunities and will help us to close the skills gap," said Congressman Jim Langevin, who serves as co-chair of the Career and Technical Education Caucus in Congress. "The more competitive and skilled our workforce is, the more attractive Rhode Island becomes for businesses who want to start-up, grow or move here. I commend Governor Raimondo on her continued focus in this area, and I look forward to seeing these federal funds put to good use in training Rhode Islanders for sustainable, well-paying jobs."
"When they're given the opportunity, Rhode Islanders will work harder and do their jobs better than anyone else," said Congressman David Cicilline. "I'm pleased that we were able to bring in this new federal funding that will help better prepare our workforce, create new job opportunities, and bring new businesses to Rhode Island."