Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


A New Day for an Old Building: DLT Supports Woonsocket Rebirth (pdf)

Jean Severance (401) 462-8871
Department of Labor and Training
June 9, 2006

WOONSOCKET - The humble brick building on Pond Street has been many things-a car dealership, office space. Next week, it throws off its scaffolds and joins in the effort to revitalize Woonsocket. The Department of Labor and Training (DLT), which has owned the building since 1979, has completely rehabbed it to better serve the citizens of Woonsocket and surrounding areas.

"One of the Department of Labor and Training's primary goals is the protection and advancement of Rhode Island's workforce. We help connect people with meaningful employment when they are unemployed, underemployed, or simply want to change careers," explained Director Adelita S. Orefice. "Our rehabilitation of 219 Pond Street will provide these services through our netWORKri Career Resource Center."

With an anticipated staff of twenty-five, from both DLT and partner agency employees, and foot traffic of nearly 1,000 customers per month, local businesses welcome the reopening as well. "The Department of Motor Vehicles will be the first to occupy the building," said Director Orefice, "And we plan to reopen the netWORKri Career Resource Center this summer, once we finish installing equipment and furniture." The renovations have greatly improved the functionality of the facility and will enable three state agencies to provide their services from one location.

Like many renovations, the beginning of one project led to the discovery that another project would be required, eventually costing $825,000 in repairs. "We had an antiquated HVAC system," noted DLT Deputy Director E. Jean Severance. "What we thought was simply a leaky roof turned out to be a faulty piping system that precipitated additional repairs. These improvements not only better meet the needs of our customers, but have drawn two additional state agencies to co-locate here. We are thrilled to be getting back to the business of serving the people of Rhode Island."

Sandra Powell, Assistant Director of Workforce Development pointed out that although career services are available from www.netWORKri.org or by calling 1-888-616-JOBS, "It is important for DLT to maintain a physical presence in Woonsocket, to be available to those for whom technology presents a challenge. As in each of the six netWORKri Career Resource Centers, customers of the Woonsocket office can make use of peer support groups, aptitude testing, and business equipment for their job search."

"Family Resources generously housed our staff during renovations so there was no break in continuity of service when we had to vacate the building, but it will be good to be back," explained Woonsocket netWORKri manager Patricia McCrea. "We're ready."

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The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training offers a wide array of employment and training services to both the general public and to individuals with unusual barriers to employment. DLT is ready to assist any job seeker, whether the goal is a first job, a better job, or a career change. Rhode Island's workforce is protected through the enforcement of labor laws, prevailing wage rates, and workplace health and safety standards. Temporary income support is available to unemployed, sick, or injured workers and a comprehensive rehabilitation program is available to those injured on the job.

DLT is dedicated to the growth and competitiveness of Rhode Island industry, administering a variety of training grants, tax credits, and apprenticeship programs to help employers. Economic indicators and labor market information are available for long-range planning. The Agency engages in active outreach, helping large and small employers retain their best workers or retrain their existing work force. At no cost to the employer, DLT will also screen job applicants, post job vacancies, and help businesses institute cost-sharing programs that can avert layoffs.

For more information on the innovative programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders at the Department of Labor and Training, please call (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at

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