Archive for November, 2015

$5-million boost for job training in Rhode Island

$5-million boost for job training in Rhode Island
Grants straddle diversity of sectors including aquaculture, marine trades, hospitality
Posted Nov. 23, 2015 at 12:01 AM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Twenty-six teams of private companies, nonprofits, educational institutions and industry associations will share in $5 million of state and federal money to train Rhode Island workers in the skills they need for jobs that are available now.

Governor Raimondo will be joined by the state’s congressional delegation at an event Monday to announce the first recipients of so-called “implementation grants” from the Real Jobs Rhode Island workforce training program.

“My primary focus is to create energy in the economy and create jobs and this is one example where we are trying to train workers and fill jobs right now,” the governor said in an interview.

Governor Raimondo in May discusses her comprehensive jobs plan with members of Rhode Island’s building trades community. They are among the targeted sectors receiving training grants to be announced by the governor on Monday. The Providence Journal / Kris Craig

The program, which was created under the Raimondo administration and is being overseen by the Department of Labor and Training, enlists employers to develop and put in place programs to train workers. It emphasizes collaboration among groups and targets growing industries. It was based on a program in Maryland that was created by DLT director Scott Jensen when he worked in that state.

The first — and only previous — round of funding through the initiative was awarded in August with 21 teams winning a total of $479,000 in planning grants — money intended to help employers design new training programs in a range of industries, including biotechnology, construction, design and defense.

The current round similarly straddles a diversity of employment sectors — among them aquaculture, marine trades and hospitality — but goes a step further in helping companies and other entities actually implement their training programs.

The grants range from about $30,000 for what’s being called the Insurance Innovation Partnership to nearly $370,000 for a shipbuilding program directed by a group that includes Electric Boat. Other notable grants include a nearly $250,000 award to a construction training program directed by the Rhode Island Builders Association.

Some will train hundreds of workers while others will be more tailored. Raimondo mentioned one healthcare program for about 40 people who will be trained for jobs that would pay salaries of $85,000. Although workers in the programs will not be guaranteed jobs, the programs are designed to train workers for skills that are currently in demand.

Training programs in certain sectors were more heavily funded, notably manufacturing, information technology and health care, which each won a total of more than $400,000.

Raimondo said they are being targeted because they and others are seen as industries that will form the basis of the future Rhode Island economy.

“Those are areas of our economy that are growing,” she said. “Those are where the high-skill, high-wage jobs are.”

The funding comes at a time when Rhode Island’s unemployment rate has been steadily declining from a peak of more than 11 percent during the Great Recession five years ago to 5.3 percent in October. Despite the positive trend, Raimondo said that workforce training is more important than ever to ensure that Rhode Islanders have the skills for good-paying, middle-class jobs in a fast-changing economy.

“The only way you can get someone to go from a $30,000 a year job to a $55,000 a year job is training,” she said. “I don’t want people to just have a job. I want them to have a good job so they can take care of their family.”

By Alex Kuffner
Journal Staff Writer

 akuffner@providencejournal.com

(401) 277-7457

On Twitter: @KuffnerAlex

Source