Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today announced Rhode Island will receive a $670,000 Workforce Investment Act (WIA) incentive grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
"In order to continue moving Rhode Island's economy in the right direction, we need to improve education and training at every level -- from early-childhood education right up through our public schools, our colleges and universities, and our adult education and workforce development," Governor Chafee said. "This incentive grant recognizes the outstanding work already under way in Rhode Island and will further enable the Rhode Island Department of Education and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training to invest in improvements to adult education and workforce training services."
Rhode Island's high performance in adult education and workforce development programs qualified the state to apply for this incentive award. It is the first time Rhode Island has been eligible since the incentive grants began in 1998.
Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) exceeded all WIA performance targets related to adult education and to entering postsecondary education or training, and DLT surpassed all WIA Dislocated Worker and Adult employment services targets. These targets included GED completion, educational gains, entered employment and employee retention.
RIDE and DLT plan to use funds from the incentive awards to purchase technology tools. DLT will use its portion to acquire data-analytics technology that will help track the progress of employment programs and analyze specific trends in workforce development.
RIDE will implement technology for use in adult education classrooms. In addition, RIDE will establish a Technology Committee to develop a comprehensive statewide technology plan to address issues of policy and access, with a special focus on professional development, training, and assessment needs.
"I am exceedingly proud of the outcomes our dedicated workforce development staff has achieved, particularly in light of Rhode Island's still challenging economic situation," DLT Director Charles J. Fogarty said.
"I want to congratulate the teachers, staff members, leaders of our adult education programs, and all of our adult learners for meeting their goals and earning our state eligibility for this important incentive award," said Eva-Marie Mancuso, Chair of the Board of Education. "We will use these funds wisely to maintain and improve the quality of adult education in Rhode Island and to build a strong workforce that will advance the economy of our state."
"We are committed to developing and supporting high-quality programs for adult education across the state," said Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. "I am pleased that all of our state-funded adult education programs have surpassed their annual targets and are providing adult learners with opportunities to improve their lives and the well-being of their families. With these incentive funds, we will continue to improve the quality of adult-education services in Rhode Island."