The Governor’s Workforce Board (GWB) has approved 10 strategic partnerships between industry, K-12 schools and community-based organizations to develop and implement high-quality paid work-based learning experiences and career readiness programming for youth (ages 14-24) through the new Real Skills for Youth program.
The Real Skills for Youth program builds off of the longstanding summer youth employment investments that offered summer jobs through local providers. Under the new program, the GWB will directly support partnerships between industry and education to develop and implement summer paid work-based learning experiences that meet the high-quality standards set by the GWB in the recent work-based learning guidance. In addition, the GWB expanded the scope of the grant solicitation to also support year-round career readiness programming to enhance connections between students’ summer work experiences and academics throughout the school during the year.
The Real Skills for Youth program is part of Rhode Island’s larger effort- PrepareRI– a 3-year action plan supported by a $2 million New Skills for Youth grant from JP Morgan Chase, to ensure all Rhode Island students are college and career ready. PrepareRI aims to close the gap between what students learn in school and what they need for high-demand jobs, and to ensure that historically under-served student populations have expanded access to quality career preparation opportunities in priority sector industries – through scaling out activities such as career exploration and work-based learning opportunities.
Real Skills partnerships are anticipated to serve over 1300 youth in the summer with paid work experiences, and over 2500 youth during the school year with a variety of career readiness programming, including career exploration, building essential skills, and work-based learning. With additional youth investments in Real Jobs RI and Real Pathways RI partnerships, an added 300 youth will participate in paid work-based learning in the summer and an additional 1700 youth in career readiness activities during the school year. The GWB has invested $2.9 million towards the Real Skills for Youth program and the list of lead applicants for each of the 10 awarded partnerships will be made available on the GWB website shortly.