The Governor’s Workforce Board recently approved 14 workforce development partnerships to advance career pathways for Rhode Island adults through the new Real Pathways RI program.

Real Pathways RI invests in workforce partnerships that include education and training entities that specialize in advancing career pathways for individuals that face increased barriers to employment (ex. veterans, homeless) or live in regions of the state with above average concentrations of poverty or unemployment. Real Pathways partnerships will provide workforce development programming that is demand-driven, linked to the larger workforce development network, and designed to help these individuals not only obtain employment, but increase their education and obtain recognized credentials, and/or increase their earnings.

The Real Pathways RI program comes on the heels of the Governor’s signature sector-driven workforce program, Real Jobs RI. Launched in 2015, Real Jobs RI is focused on meeting the needs of employers within specific industries that have been identified as major pillars of the Rhode Island economy. Real Jobs RI recently surpassed 700 job placements and 300 current workers upskilled. Real Pathways RI is an associate program to Real Jobs RI which will focus on meeting the needs of populations with barriers to employment, and ultimately serving as a tool to prepare individuals for Real Jobs training programs.

Unemployment and earnings among many of the populations being targeted (long term unemployed, veterans, non-English speakers, homeless, public assistance recipients, individuals without a high school degree, and others) far exceed the state average for all workers. Partnerships will work together in a collaborative fashion to provide career services, support services, training, and job placement to help place these individuals into employment.

The Governor’s Workforce Board has invested $1.7 million towards this effort with partnerships receiving grants of up to $150,000.00. Tentative awards were announced June 15, 2017 with final awardees to be completed and announced shortly after July 1st.

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