"We need to roll-up our sleeves to connect employers with the trained workforce they need right now to grow and expand," Governor Raimondo said. "Real Jobs RI will help spark our recovery, while positioning industry partnerships as the critical hub around which government, education, workforce development providers, nonprofits, and others revolve."
"It's essential that we focus on the specific needs of employers as we reshape Rhode Island's job training system. That's what the Real Jobs approach is all about," said Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce. "Our economic development package is called the 'Ocean State WAVE.' It begins with the W: workforce development. Growing Rhode Island's economy starts with strengthening our workforce development system, meeting the training needs of our employers, and positioning Rhode Islanders for the jobs of today and tomorrow."
"The Department of Labor and Training needs to move at the speed of business to deliver to Rhode Island companies the workforce they need to grow. Real Jobs RI will move at the speed of business," said DLT Director Scott Jensen.
The announcement was held at Yushin America Inc., a global robotics manufacturer in Cranston that symbolizes both the challenges facing the state's economy as well as its enormous potential. As Yushin looks to expand it plant by 75 percent, it has 14 open positions and it is having difficulty finding trained, skilled workers.
The company ships 30 precision-engineered robots a month to customers around the world.
Real Jobs RI
Real Jobs RI is a flexible grant program to support ideas from employers and partners of all sizes, to connect people to job openings more quickly. Planning and implementation grants will also be available to help employers to analyze the workforce demands of industry and cross-industry sectors over a sustained period of time and build partner relationships that will produce a stable pipeline of workers to jobs.
The $1.3 million in first-year funds for Real Jobs RI have been requested from the Governor's Workforce Board through its administration of the state Job Development Fund (JDF). The JDF is a long-standing state account dedicated to improving the skills and employability of Rhode Island's workforce. Initial planning grants up to $25,000 will be made available to help partnerships convene, determine the specific workforce needs of employer, gather the necessary partners to meet those needs, and produce a proposed plan to train and skill up individuals to meet those needs. All remaining funds (over $1 million) will be available to fund those partnerships whose plans are approved and selected. Selection will be a transparent process and priority will be given to those plans that best meet employer demand and put the most Rhode Islanders back to work in family-supporting jobs.