Governor McKee Highlights 2023 Department of Labor and Training Accomplishments

 Governor McKee Highlights 2023 Department of Labor and Training Accomplishments
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PROVIDENCE, RI – Throughout 2023, the Department of Labor and Training (DLT) continued to prioritize serving the community and businesses with fidelity and the highest level of customer service. The language access project ensures all Income Support documents are being sent out in both English and Spanish to claimants. There are ongoing efforts that are currently underway in developing multiple language options for our self-service prompts on our phone system. In addition, the Department replicated the Unemployment Insurance Help Form and launched a Temporary Disability Insurance/Temporary Care Insurance Help Form and Employer Help Form to increase claimant and employer access to the agency to request direct callbacks to receive additional assistance around claims and business-related questions.
“With a steadfast commitment to propel Rhode Island forward, the Department of Labor and Training continues to make a positive impact on Rhode Island,” said Governor Dan McKee. “From empowering communities through collaborative initiatives to fostering workforce development and enforcing fair labor practices, we are all devoted to building a brighter future for all.”
“Our commitment to community shines through in our recent achievements, from language access enhancements to the launch of the Community Engagement Partners initiative,” said DLT Director Matthew Weldon. “We’re dedicated to ensuring all Rhode Islanders have equal access to resources and support.”
Community Engagement
In April 2023, the Office of Community Engagement launched a new Community Engagement Partners initiative to better serve all Rhode Islanders. The 25 community-based organizations (CBOs) selected, are tasked to represent the interests and needs of the communities they serve and to advise the DLT on policies and program delivery rooted in equity and accessibility for all Rhode Islanders. Through the outreach to and education of their communities, the DLT can better serve historically marginalized populations and populations with barriers to employment. With Community Partner input, some accomplishments of this initiative include:
  • The DLT created a step-by-step brochure on how to apply for unemployment insurance (UI), which Community Partners disseminated to their clients. Community Partners have also translated the brochure into other languages.
  • The DLT created flyers advertising DLT services and how to access those services, which Community Partners disseminated to their clients.
  • The DLT created a survey to gather information from Rhode Islanders about the employment services most in need and how they currently access those services. The survey is currently live, and Community Partners are disseminating the survey to their clients; responses will inform how the DLT provides workforce services.
RI Manufacturing Growth Collaborative
The RI Manufacturing Growth Collaborative, a partnership between DOC and DLT, is working to bring sector-based in-demand trainings behind the walls. Since the 2022 launch of this partnership, the Fast Track to Manufacturing program, with Polaris MEP and the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), provides participants with advanced manufacturing training at the Women’s facility. Participants are trained on CAD machines on-site and earn an OSHA 10 certificate and a Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) certificate.
  • Two cohorts have completed training = 15 participants (82% completed)
  • 7 are currently enrolled in the third cohort
  • 62% have been placed into jobs
  • Employer placements: Cadence, Moore Bros Composites, Tri-Mack Plastics Manufacturing, Zim Sailing, Lumetta, Nexans and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics
Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Grant Program
DLT was awarded the DOL Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Grant Program grant, by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The grant is meant to support the design, development, and growth of training programs and work-based learning opportunities in the renewable energy, transportation, and broadband infrastructure sectors. DLT was awarded $2 million for this work.
  • DLT established the Green Energy Workforce Advisory Committee under the Governor’s Workforce Board to serve as the state’s central convening point around the workforce needs and opportunities in the state’s rapidly expanding clean energy, climate resiliency, and blue/green industries. With over 20 members representing a broad array of stakeholders, including labor, employers, industry groups, and environmental justice communities, the GEWAC will serve as a focal point in identifying the skills gaps, hiring needs, and career opportunities presented by our state’s move to a net zero emissions economy.
Real Jobs RI
Real Jobs RI continues to be the agency’s premiere workforce development initiative. The industry-led, demand-driven initiative works with a network of employers, training providers, and community organizations to build workforce solutions that address industries’ unique workforce challenges.
  • In FY23:
  • 3,845 jobseekers enrolled in training and/or placement assistance programs
  • 75.8% or 2,913 of those, have completed their programs
  • 67.5% placed into jobs
  • 2,684 incumbent workers were enrolled in programs to gain new skills
  • 81.4% or 2,185 were upskilled
The Department continues to prioritize conducting fair, assertive, and balanced labor law enforcement. In 2023, 490 cases were completed, resulting in $582,917.06 in wages returned to workers and $120,192.02 in penalties assessed.

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