Workforce Development Programs are Hard at Work

Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island

By Jeanne Cola

Rhode Island’s workforce development programs are working. We are witnessing the success first hand.

We see it in the face of people like Katiria Perez, who was able to get job training through SNAP E&T and finally get a job as a medical assistant after four years of staying home to raise her family. And we see it in the face of Miguel Escobedo, who is making a mid-life career change after a debilitating accident meant he could no longer work at his old job. These are our neighbors – and their lives are being improved, due in large part to the comprehensive workforce development programs initiated by the state.  Thousands of Rhode Islanders are getting back on their feet, sometimes after a very long and arduous struggle, and their personal economies are growing.

LISC Rhode Island manages the state’s SNAP E&T program which works with community partners like Genesis Center, Amos House, and many others to deliver workforce development training and education. We provide funding, technical assistance and program components that have a proven success record to help these centers do what they do best. They are phenomenal partners and we are witnesses to their accomplishments.

The LISC SNAP E&T program focuses on helping SNAP recipients get the education, training and support needed to return to the workforce to improve their circumstances. SNAP E&T is just one of many initiatives that the state supports to help get Rhode Islanders back to work. SKILLS RI, REAL JOBS RI and other programs work separately and together to target specific portions of our unemployed and under-employed populations and to create employment pathways that close the skills gap for people and employers.

Each month, workforce development efforts are making steady progress toward increasing the number of Rhode Islanders in the workplace. According to the Department of Labor and Training, the labor force stood at 558,900 in April, up 900 from last month and 5,600 from last year. It’s wonderful to see people making great strides toward better circumstances and the programs dovetailing in synergistic ways that produce results.

As we work with our community-based partners to serve SNAP recipients, we see the successes that these programs deliver and celebrate all the good work that is being accomplished for individuals and families.