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Gov. Raimondo announces $5M for job training

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — Twenty-six teams of companies, institutions and organizations will share $5 million in federal and state funding to train workers in Rhode Island.

Gov. Gina Raimondo and the state’s congressional delegation on Monday announced the recipients of the “implementation grants” from the Real Jobs Rhode Island workforce training program.

“Let’s go to the employers – you tell us, who are you going to hire, what skills are they going to have, work with us to train them and then you hire them,” Raimondo said.

The grants are part of an initiative to train employees for jobs employers want to fill. The first round of funding awarded $479,000 in August to 21 recipients in industries including design, construction and biotechnology.

The current round of grants will go to employers in industries including marine trades, aquaculture and hospitality. They aim to help companies and other entities, such as the Rhode Island Builders Association, implement training programs.

“It just makes perfect sense,”  said Hope Hopkins, co-director of MedMates.

MedMates is one of the recipients. Hopkins and her co-direcot Maeve Donohue said they plan to use their $175,000 grant to train entrepreneurs in the medical technology sector.

Both Hopkins and Donohue agree that Real Jobs RI is the logical way to put people to work.

“Everyone goes ‘yeah, of course!’ But for some reason we weren’t doing it until now,” Donohue said. “For example, identifying a user need and building a product based on that. It’s the same concept.”

Employers have complained in the past that the state was not training people with the right skills and the programs suffered from too much red tape, Raimondo said. Employers will now design the training.

“We’re taking concrete steps to get people into jobs that are currently open,” the governor said. “Employers say they don’t have the folks with the skills they need. We’re looking to fix that problem.”

She estimates these grants, 26 in total, will help more than 1,000 people get jobs. The congressional delegation secured the funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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