More than 20 organizations will share in $2.1 million in state funds earmarked for summer youth work experience programs through the Governor’s Workforce Board and the R.I. Department of Human Services, officials said Thursday.
Starting in July, 22 organizations will provide 1,500 youths between 14 and 24 with work experience and work readiness training, exposing them to industries such as information technology, manufacturing, health care, the arts, construction and manufacturing.
Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, along with Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, announced the grants at a news conference.
“We can all agree on the importance of providing real work experience to the next generation of our labor force,” Chafee said, according to a news release. “Through these summer jobs, Rhode Island youth are learning hands-on technical skills, workplace expectations and financial responsibility habits that will help launch them on their career paths.”
Participants were chosen for the program from a pool of about 10,000 clients of YouthWorks411, a consortium of 14 workforce development organizations around the state. Most will work 20-hour weeks for six weeks and be paid the state minimum wage rate, which increased to $7.75 an hour as of January.
The Governor’s Workforce Board allocated $1.5 million for the program, with the remaining $600,000 coming from the DHS’ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families fund. The Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island and Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston screened and selected vendors and will oversee the program.
“Summer jobs keep young people actively engaged, while also teaching them the skills they need to be successful throughout college and their careers,” said Taveras, according to the release. Fung added that summer jobs “provide our youth with valuable experience in the workforce.”
Examples of vendors and programs include: Rhode Island Hospital/Lifespan, which will place 62 youths at its facilities in Providence and Cranston; the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, which will place a dozen youths from East Bay communiites in boat-building positions; and the Comprehensive Community Action Program/Pawtucket Youth Center, which will send 82 youths in jobs at companies such as CVS Caremark, Exchange St. Café and Division Brake.