Program Puts More than 1,200 RI Youth in Summer Jobs,
$1.8 million grant from Governor’s Workforce Board supports jobs, internships, and work readiness programs for young people ages 14-24 throughout the Ocean State
May 18, 2017
The GWB’s 17 percent funding increase over 2016’s $1.5 million level means that 100 more Rhode Islanders between the ages of 14 to 24 will participate this year than last. The Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island, a WIB serving every RI city and town except Providence and Cranston, received a grant of $1.15 million and will serve 840 youth. A grant of nearly $650,000 will allow RI’s second WIB, Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston, to provide immersive experiences to 366 young people.
“The Summer Youth Employment Program provides real-life, hands-on training aligned with the needs of Rhode Island employers,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “These are exactly the kinds of life-changing opportunities that young Rhode Islanders of varying educational levels need to compete and have a chance for a brighter future.”
Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island Grantees
Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston Grantees
The program begins with a week of focused, age-appropriate work readiness activities. Armed with a plan and a set of goals, participants then get to work. A youth’s experience consists of real-world work in a specific occupation — which can lead to a full-time job down the line — along with training in communicating effectively, problem solving, and other of the so -called “soft skills,” which are critical for on-the-job success and hiring managers often cite as lacking in job candidates of many ages.
Funding for the program comes from the state Job Development Fund, an assessment of employers’ taxable payroll.
“The kids are engaging in really serious work, and we ask a lot of them,” said Adrienne Gagnon, Executive Director of DownCity Design. “It is incredibly rewarding for these young adults to see their efforts validated with a true, real impact on a professional work product and a real paycheck as well. The level of professionalism and community engagement would be difficult to replicate outside of this program.”
“It’s very gratifying to be able to increase our funding in a program that can change the whole arc of a young person’s life,” said GWB Chairman Mike Grey. “The Summer Youth Employment Program gives hundreds of young Rhode Islanders access to opportunities that they never would have gotten otherwise. It also aligns squarely with Governor Raimondo’s and the GWB’s clear policy priorities of career readiness for youth and forging true career pathways.”
“Early work experiences afforded by these types of summer jobs programs are critical to a young person’s development,” said Janet Raymond, Board Chair of Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston. “Participating in well-structured summer employment can provide the skills that employers are looking for, such as professionalism, strong work ethic, teamwork, collaboration, and strong communication skills.”
“Some of our partnerships offer a priority commitment to hiring successful program participants at the end of the summer,” said Nancy Olson, Executive Director of the Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island. “This is a win-win. Getting our young people on a pathway to workforce success while supplying Rhode Island businesses with the employees they need benefits everyone involved.”
For more information on the Governor’s Workforce Board initiative to fund local Summer Youth Employment Programs, please visit http://www.gwb.ri.gov/youthgwb.htm.
About the Governor’s Workforce Board: Created by Executive Order in 2005 and codified into law in 2014, the Governor’s Workforce Board (GWB) under Governor Gina M. Raimondo is charged with developing the skills of the current and future workforce to meet the needs of employers. The GWB invests in programs enabling Rhode Islanders to find a job and build a career, and serves hundreds of companies and thousands of workers annually through Real Jobs RI, internships, and incumbent worker training. The GWB also is the primary policy-making body on workforce development matters for Rhode Island with statutory responsibility and authority to plan, coordinate, fund, and evaluate workforce development activities in the state. Funding for workforce development programs comes through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act as well as state General Revenue and the Job Development Fund (JDF). The JDF is financed by a 0.21 percent assessment of employers’ taxable payroll of which the GWB receives 0.19 percent of these payments and allocates funds to workforce development initiatives across the state.
About the RI Department of Labor and Training: The RI Department of Labor and Training (DLT) offers employment services, educational services, and economic opportunity to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates, and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. DLT’s Business Workforce Center simplifies doing business in RI by coordinating job fairs, pre-screening applicants, and connecting employers with innovative methods to remain or become competitive.