workforce development

Defense skills study finds shortfalls

Posted 3/2/12

QUONSET – A study on the skills gap in Rhode Island identified shortfalls in the labor force and found that 600 new jobs would be created during the next year in the defense industry.

The Skills Gap Study, conducted for the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance Defense Industry Partnership, was based on surveys over the last 6 months; the results were presented at an event on Feb. 28 at Quonset Development Corp. with Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and the state labor department head, Charles Fogarty, in attendance, among others.

The study, aiming to asses the current and future needs of the state’s defense industry, found that there are shortfalls in four employment categories – engineering, technicians, production, and business administration – that included “technical writing,” ability to communicate with others” and the “ability to work independently.”

The 600 new jobs that would be created in Rhode Island were based on the more than 200 defense-related businesses that participated in the survey.

“The defense industry is very important to our state and I commend the work of the Defense Industry Partnership to identify areas where we can make improvements to our state’s workforce to increase jobs and contract capabilities. We are committed to addressing the issues outlined in this important study by working together to close the skills gap,” said Chafee.

“The survey has been crucial not only to maintaining Rhode Island as a national leader in defense, particularly underwater technology, but to getting our state’s economy moving again,” said Keith W. Stokes, head of the R.I. Economic Development Corporation

The survey, conducted by Ninigret Partners of Rhode Island, aimed to:

  • Assess the state’s workforce capabilities and skill sets needed for the defense industry.

  • Quantify the defense industry’s retention and expansion trends as well as worker training, retraining and employment opportunities within the industry.

  • Define the skills that can be transferred to different industries in order to develop employment pathways to complementary industries that are seeking workforce talent.

The full report is available here.

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