RI State Report: Workforce Grants + Relief for Homeowners
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Lastly, we’ll look at the opening of a new kid-friendly center in downtown Providence, and assess a newly released report on the national mortgage settlement, which affects thousands of RI homeowners.
Rhode Island to Receive a Workforce Investment Act Incentive Grant
In an effort to advance adult learning and workforce training, Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced on Monday that Rhode Island will receive a $670,000 Workforce Investment Act (WIA) incentive grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
“In order to continue moving Rhode Island's economy in the right direction, we need to improve education and training at every level – from early-childhood education right up through our public schools, our colleges and universities, and our adult education and workforce development,” Gov. Chafee said.
Rhode Island qualified for the grant due to its high performance in adult education and workforce development. Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) exceeded all WIA performance targets related to adult education and to entering postsecondary education or training, and Department of Labor and Training surpassed all WIA Dislocated Worker and Adult employment services targets. These targets included GED completion, educational gains, entered employment and employee retention.
RIDE and DLT plan to use the awarded funds to purchase technology tools. DLT will use its portion to acquire data-analytics technology that will help track the progress of employment programs and analyze specific trends in workforce development.
It is the first time the state has been eligible since the incentive grants began in 1998.
Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery Awarded Federal Grant
In other grant news, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee announced on Tuesday that the Rhode Island Division of Veterans Affairs has been awarded a grant of approximately $658,000 for the construction of a new columbarium at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery.
“I was very pleased when the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki informed Rhode Island of this award,” Gov. Chafee said. “The fine men and women in the military have sacrificed so much for our state. Rhode Island must be a state that honors and respects them by doing all we can both during and after their service.”
A columbarium is a cemetery building typically used to store cremation urns. The new columbarium planned for the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery will have 2,160 niches. It will be the third columbarium at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery.
“This award by the Department of Veterans Affairs enables us to continue to serve our veterans and their families with added choice and dignity in the years ahead,” said Sandra M. Powell, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Human Services. “Having this service available at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery allows us to offer veterans another option for final resting places for those who have served our country in the armed forces.”
The Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery is located at 301 South County Trail, Exeter, R.I. There are currently 37,620 gravesites at the 338-acre site and 1,300 niches, with 1,200 burials taking place there each year. The Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery grounds, and its 31 monuments dedicated to the veterans of specific wars and conflicts are open to the public.
Projections show RI is getting older
One out of four Rhode Islanders will be 65 or older in 30 years, according to new population projections released by the state Division of Planning on Thursday.
The 35-page report—which is titled Rhode Island Population Projections 2010-2040—argues that the state is expected to have very slow population growth through 2020 due to negative net migration, and return to higher rates of net migration and population growth through the 2030s, at which point the increasing number of older residents will cause a slight decline in the state’s population.
According to the report, the state’s slow population growth and its aging population will significantly impact Rhode Island’s jobs and economic development, the housing market, healthcare system, and the finance of retirement benefits.
Data also shows that more residents are leaving Rhode Island than are moving into the state.
Click here to read the full report.
Providence opens kid-friendly center in Burnside Park
On Thursday, Mayor Angel Taveras, the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy and Southwest Airlines announced the opening of the Imagination Center in Burnside Park.
"The opening of the Imagination Center advances our efforts to revitalize Kennedy Plaza and make downtown Providence a more vibrant cultural and commercial gateway to our Capital City," said Taveras. "Working together and in partnership with Southwest Airlines, we are improving our downtown public spaces and providing more opportunities to play, recreate, dine and enjoy spending time in Kennedy Plaza."
The Imagination Center is a destination for arts and crafts, interactive play and more, bringing the local community together and enriching the many activities in Burnside Park—including story-time, art activities, live music, a beer garden, food trucks, farmers market and evening programming.
Residents and families participated in the unveiling of the Imagination Center, as well as activities scheduled from dawn to dusk at Burnside Park, including Kidoinfo story-time, art projects, complimentary PVD Pops popsicles, free play and musical performances.
The Center was created with a Southwest Airlines grant as part of the airline's ongoing commitment to connect people and communities. The project was led in part by Project for Public Spaces, a leader in community-driven place-making and management of public spaces.
AG Kilmartin Issues Final Report on National Mortgage Settlement Progress
Rhode Island homeowners have recouped $153.5 million in direct relief as part of a national mortgage settlement, according to a progress report released on Thursday by Attorney Peter Kilmartin.
“Although this is the final progress report, and I am encouraged to see that the Settlement has made a measurable impact on Rhode Island homeowners and the housing market, this is not the end of our - or the banks' - obligations. The banks must continue to comply with the servicing standards outlined in the Settlement to ensure they do not fall back into their old ways of mistreating consumers,” said Kilmartin.
Kilmartin reports that the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers have provided 2,124 Rhode Island consumers with an average of $72,310 per homeowner. The report also shows that 317 homeowners have seen their mortgages refinanced, with an average rate reduction of 2.2 percent, and an additional 616 homeowners are in the process of refinancing.
Nationally, the banks have provided 643,726 borrowers some type of consumer relief totaling $51.33 billion, which, on average, represents about $79,742 per borrower.
Click here to read the full report.
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