Providence launches PVD Healthworks to boost health care, social assistance workforce

PROVIDENCE – Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the city’s Economic Opportunity Director Brian Hull met with state officials and health industry representatives Friday to announce the launch of PVD HealthWorks to strengthen the city’s health care and social assistance workforce.

The partnership is made possible with a $300,000 Real Jobs Rhode Island grant from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training and is designed to connect participants in the targeted industry sectors to workforce training, resources and employment opportunities.

Joining Elorza and Hull in the announcement were DLT Director Scott Jensen and representatives from Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston, Care New England, Lifespan Corp., and Genesis Center at the Simulation Center at Woman & Infants Hospital.

“Health care is one of the largest industries in Rhode Island,” said Elorza. “This partnership will help us continue to provide economic opportunities for residents throughout our city.”

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Real Jobs RI is a demand-driven, workforce and economic development initiative that convenes industry employers, key stakeholders and groups in allied partnerships to address business workforce demands. It is designed to ensure that Rhode Island employers have the talent they need to compete and grow while providing targeted education and skills training for Rhode Island workers.

“Real Jobs RI is showing that we can invest in workers and employers at the same time — because competitive companies employing workers who are on a solid pathway to middle-class wages are the keystones of a strong and resilient economy,” said Gov. Gina M. Raimondo. “With 81,000 workers and some of Rhode Island’s largest employers, health care is a critical component of our economy. I’m proud to partner with Mayor Elorza to help health care employers get the talent they need to grow and compete.”

The Healthcare and Social Assistance industry is one of the largest employment sectors in the state and is the largest employer within Providence, according to a statement from Elorza’s office on the launch of PVD HealthWorks.

The sector has been affected by a documented labor shortage as well as a growing mismatch between workforce preparedness and the changing skills that will be required as the health care sector adapts to changing demographics and service delivery. Health care employers from across Rhode Island have underscored a large number of open positions for many occupations, including medical assistants, direct support professionals and pharmacy technicians.

“Real Jobs RI helps employers train the right workers for the right jobs at the right time and the PVD HealthWorks partnership has all of the workforce development pieces in place to do just that for the health care sector of our capital city,” said Jensen. “Governor Raimondo and I are excited to work alongside Mayor Elorza and the employers of Rhode Island’s biggest sector to strategically connect partners around shared needs and match skilled health care and social assistance professionals with employers looking for top talent.”