Workforce Board to subsidize ‘meaningful work experience’

The Governor’s Workforce Board has launched the first phase of its new Rhode Island Work Immersion Program, which will provide work experience for college students and unemployed adults in the state. More

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Workforce Board to subsidize ‘meaningful work experience’

PBN FILE PHOTO/FRANK MULLIN
THE RHODE ISLAND Work Immersion Program will subsidize more than 250 internships and work experiences in the coming year. Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee called the initiative "a valuable investment in our economy."
Posted 9/17/13

PROVIDENCE - The Governor’s Workforce Board has launched the first phase of its new Rhode Island Work Immersion Program, which will provide work experience for college students and unemployed adults in the state.

Proposed by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and approved by the General Assembly, the $500,000 program allocates general revenue funds for workforce development programming. The program expects to subsidize more than 250 work experiences in the coming fiscal year.

“I believe strongly that the financing of the work immersion program is a valuable investment in our economy,” Chafee said in a prepared statement Monday. “This venture is the first of its kind using state funds to help Rhode Islanders obtain work experience. By creating new opportunities for meaningful work experience, we are building both the skills and the résumés of the current and future workforce.”

The first phase of the Work Immersion Program will support the expansion of paid internships for college students by providing a 50 percent wage subsidy to participating businesses. To be eligible, internships must either provide college credit or receive an endorsement from the intern’s higher education institution. Work experiences must pay between $7.75 and $20 per hour and can range in duration from 45 to 200 hours.

Bonus funding will be available to businesses that permanently hire the intern upon completion of the internship.

Workforce Board Chairperson Constance Howes said that the program offers businesses a financial incentive to help train the next generation of workers. The Governor’s Workforce Board and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training will conduct business outreach to generate interest in the program, she added.

The second phase of the Work Immersion Program will provide a 50 percent wage subsidy to employers that provide a 200-hour paid work experience to unemployed adults.

Participants must be referred by either a public- or private-sector program serving unemployed Rhode Islanders. As with the college student program, employers that permanently hire the unemployed adult at the completion of the work immersion period will receive bonus funding. This second phase of the program is expected to launch in late fall.

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