As Rhode Island continues building toward a clean, reliable, affordable energy future, it is critical that the state has a strong pipeline of skilled workers to meet demand.
To provide job training and employment opportunities to local job seekers trying to start a career in the clean energy sector, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representative Seth Magaziner today joined Governor Dan McKee in announcing $2 million in federal funds to develop and launch a new workforce and career development program aimed at preparing Rhode Islanders from historically underserved communities to attain family-sustaining careers building and expanding needed infrastructure for the transition to a net-zero emissions economy.
Administered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and awarded to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT), the $2 million federal grant is from the Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Grant Program.
These funds will help DLT prepare Rhode Islanders for good-paying jobs in expanding sectors like renewable energy, transportation, and broadband infrastructure. The grant will be used to develop the Growing the Renewable Energy Employment Network (GREEN) program, which will target unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders, especially in the state’s urban core, to ensure a diverse pipeline into renewable energy infrastructure careers.
“This federal job training funding will empower workers to upskill their careers, help meet growing job demand, and drive our economy forward. It’s a win for job-seekers and businesses alike and a smart investment in accelerating the transition to clean energy and combating climate change. Businesses facing workforce shortages need skilled workers and we need to prepare more Rhode Islanders for good-paying careers in skilled trades. This program will help grow the middle-class and the green economy and ensure we have a diverse, highly-skilled workforce. DLT will put this money to work recruiting and training workers and connecting them with businesses in growing industries,” said Senator Reed. “We need to build an economy that works for everyone and where people can put their talents to work strengthening our communities while earning a good living. This program will help ensure Rhode Island is well positioned to continue leading on things like offshore wind.”
“We have to build more clean energy capacity here in Rhode Island to meet our emissions reductions goals, and it’ll take a highly skilled local workforce to lead the way,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Expanding career training opportunities will help Rhode Islanders of all backgrounds land well-paying green jobs and strengthen our clean energy economy.”
“Rhode Island is a leader in affordable clean energy, which is creating thousands of good-paying, union jobs in our state,” said Rep. Seth Magaziner. “This federal funding will be used for workforce and career development programs that will train working people for jobs in the clean energy economy — strengthening the middle class by creating economic mobility for working people.”
“With more than 8,000 offshore wind projects projected over the next 10 years in the Northeast, and numerous other projects aimed at achieving our 2030 goals and the mandate of the Act on Climate, Rhode Island is positioned to lead the way on the transition to clean, renewable energy sources in our region. We are grateful to the United States Department of Labor and the members of our Congressional delegation for recognizing the importance of this work and supporting it through this award. In addition, this effort represents yet another successful collaboration with the public-private partnership my office created with the Partnership for RI – CompeteRI. The funds from this grant will enable us to rapidly scale up our infrastructure efforts, while ensuring that we provide the career opportunities that will come with this work to all Rhode Islanders,” said Governor Dan McKee.
“We are thrilled to have supported the Department on this winning application. This grant will help employers across the state hire more Rhode Islanders and that is core to our mission. Our Compete RI initiative continues to have an enormous impact on Rhode Island’s efforts to compete for and win federal funds. We applaud the Governor leading our collaboration and our best-in-class Congressional delegation for always bringing investments back to the Ocean State.,” said Tom Giordano, Executive Director of the Partnership for Rhode Island.
This grant will enable DLT to implement an earn-while-you-learn model, which empowers participants to earn family-sustaining wages with benefits and earn college credits at the same time.
Through Real Jobs Rhode Island and Back to Work Rhode Island, DLT already partners with employers who are hiring and want to find workers with the right skillsets. The GREEN program will leverage the Real Jobs RI platform as well as DLT’s core partnerships with community-based organizations to ensure robust, effective training aimed at genuine and immediate opportunities and to center equitable recruitment efforts.
Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded $94 million in Building Pathways grants this year to train and prepare a diverse workforce for good jobs created by the Biden Administration’s “Investing in America” agenda.
The Building Pathways grants complement the U.S. Department of Labor’s ongoing work to meet our nation’s infrastructure workforce needs, including by aligning Registered Apprenticeships and workforce programs at community colleges, and supporting state and local partnerships seeking to leverage workforce funding to support high-quality training and supportive services.
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