Sen. Reed discusses Workforce Investment Act, job training programs at RIC

From left: Charles Fogarty, director of the R.I. Department of Labor and Training; Jenifer Giroux, director of workforce development and training for RIC's Outreach Programs; U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and RIC President Nancy Carriuolo.
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed visited RIC’s Outreach Programs on Dec. 12 to highlight the importance of increasing job training opportunities in Rhode Island.

Reed – along with the director for the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Charles Fogarty, and Rhode Island College President Nancy Carriuolo – discussed Rhode Island’s workforce training programs in Building 8 at RIC.

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The senator also visited with students enrolled in the Outreach Programs’ TRAMA class (Training Responsible Adults as Medical Assistants) currently preparing for careers in the fast-growing health industry, and to join the workforce as skilled employees.

“The goal that you have is to get back to work,” said Reed. “That is the goal of our country, too.”

“You’re getting the training needed that will serve as a passport to employment opportunities,” Fogarty said.

Outreach Programs at the college have demonstrated a high success rate in matching participants with jobs, and has a 75 percent placement rate across all programs.

“The goal of everything we do here is employment,” said Jenifer Giroux, director of workforce development and training for RIC’s Outreach Programs. “All students that come here are dedicated to entering or re-entering the workforce.”

Although there are job openings in Rhode Island, business leaders find it difficult to match qualified individuals with the positions. Training programs funded by the Workforce Investment Act will help to fill these openings. Eligible job seekers may qualify for up to $5,500 in free WIA-approved short-term training in high-growth industries.

Last year, programs in Rhode Island funded by the Workforce Investment Act trained over 2,200 job seekers in various high-demand occupations, and also funded job counseling services, youth workforce development and other innovative programs, including contextualized training that combines adult literacy with occupational skills training.

Potential cuts to the program in the future could mean a loss for work development and placement programs throughout the state.

Jenifer Giroux and Sen. Jack Reed.
Reed, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is currently working to restore over $1 billion to work-force development programs, including the Workforce Investment Act, and to develop new job training strategies to give more Rhode Islanders the opportunity to achieve their career potential, and to get a good job.

“Investing in our people is one of the most important things we can do to get our economy back on track,” said Reed in a release. “We have a lot of businesses that want to hire, and Rhode Islanders who want to work, and Workforce Investment Act programs like this one help connect the two by bridging the skills gap and matching job training with needs of employers.”