NEW: Senate Leaders Unveil Workforce Development Action Plan
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The report and legislation seek to repair a system which has left workers without the skills needed to succeed in a modern economy, and to provide job seekers a clear and accessible “road to work.”
Despite the high unemployment rate, many employers have reported an inability to find the skilled workers they need. Addressing this immediate jobs crisis is the top priority of the Senate.
Proposals for Action by State Policymakers Include:
1. EMPOWER A SINGLE, SEAMLESS, AND COHESIVE WORKFORCE TRAINING SYSTEM FOR RI
- Codify the Governor’s Workforce Board in statute and reaffirm its role as the sole coordinator of all workforce development policy in Rhode Island;
- Institute single-point coordination of the disparate statewide career pathways and training systems; and
- Increase the number of industry-recognized credentials available in Rhode Island.
2. MAXIMIZE USE OF RHODE ISLAND’S JOB DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
- Exempt the Job Development Fund from the state’s Indirect Cost Recovery and funnel freed-up resources toward immediate training and job-attachment programs for the state’s unemployed;
- Require greater transparency and accountability of workforce development expenditures; and
- Maintain enhanced funding for innovative workforce training programs.
3. SIGNIFICANTLY EXPAND THE NUMBER OF INTERNSHIPS AND APPRENTICESHIPS IN RI
- Open the bRIdge.jobs program to high-school students and partner the program with the State Apprenticeship Council; and
- Strategically expand the state’s current Apprenticeship tax credit.
- Commit appropriate resources to eliminate waiting lists for unemployed or underemployed adult learners;
Require that Adult Education resource decisions at the Department of Education give priority to those programs that:
- Minimize waiting lists by increasing program capacity;
- Reflect the state’s economic and workforce priorities;
- Are most effective at attaching participants to the workforce;
- Include a digital literacy component;
- Provide enhanced transparency of program expenditures and outcomes; and
- Provide wraparound services for adult learners at the lowest levels of performance.
- Include a business member of the Governor’s Workforce Board as a member of the Board of Education;
- Embrace strategies employed by leading states to help Rhode Island’s TANF population return to work; and
- Authorize an innovative, optional savings mechanism to help adults save for lifelong training expenses.
5. REIMAGINE CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) IN RHODE ISLAND
- Immediately identify a one-time $1 million incentive to begin a disruptive system- wide reimagining of Career and Technical Education;
- Require that RIDE’s allocation of CTE resources align with the state’s workforce priorities; and
- Integrate state-of-the-art CTE programming in teacher preparation and professional development.
6. ELIMINATE BARRIERS TO ATTAINING HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA-EQUIVALENCY
- Reduce costs for high school equivalency test-takers; and
- Restore the Fee Waiver for low-income high school equivalency test-takers.
7. BRIDGE STATEWIDE EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT GAPS
- Require that the Board of Education prioritize Adult Education, CTE, and quality credit and non-credit programs at CCRI;
- Continue to build upon the state’s investment in outstanding programs that support learning, including pre-kindergarten, full-day kindergarten, and summer learning;
- Utilize competency-based learning models to free-up additional class time for students who are already proficient in a foreign language; and
- Introduce a proven mentoring and coaching program for students at risk of falling behind.
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