Tech Force RI Website Builds IT Workforce, Addresses Employer Demand
Newly launched website is one component of USDOL grant providing recruiting, training, and job matching services to place unemployed Rhode Islanders in high-demand IT careers.
Providence, R.I. – November 10, 2015 – The Tech Force Rhode Island website, techforceri.org, was recently launched as one component of a strategy to recruit, train, and employ Rhode Islanders in high-demand IT careers. Tech Force RI provides customized, industry-led training to Rhode Island career seekers and connects Rhode Island employers with in-demand, credentialed tech talent.
The Tech Force RI website will serve as a hub for participants and employers where visitors can submit candidate applications; identify employer participants and benefits; access media materials; and learn more about Tech Force program and services.
Tech Force RI services are funded by a $7.5 million U.S. Department of Labor Ready to Work Partnership grant, which was received in October 2014 and announced by Senator Jack Reed. Funds were awarded to Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston with partnering agencies Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island and Tech Collective, Rhode Island’s information technology and bioscience industry association. Tech Force funding has been awarded through October 2018; during that time 476 individuals are expected to receive services.
“I am pleased to see this type of collaboration to help strengthen economic development in Rhode Island. This new website should be an excellent tool for connecting employers to workers with the skills needed to help their businesses thrive,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.
“I talk to companies every day about Rhode Island. The number one thing that executives tell me is that they need access to a skilled workforce. Tech Force RI is an innovative workforce development investment that promises to address this need. It will help long-term unemployed and under-employed workers build skills in well-paying IT jobs and it will help employers gain access to trained workers and compete, grow and succeed,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “I applaud Senator Reed for his advocacy in securing this important funding. I look forward to working with our valued partner, Tech Collective, to fully develop Rhode Island’s IT workforce pipeline along with the Department of Labor and Training, Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island, and Workforce Solutions.”
The Tech Force program’s blended learning model of technical, business, and work-readiness training prepares well-rounded candidates ready to meet employer needs. Tech Force serves Rhode Island’s long-term unemployed and under-employed through three rapid reemployment strategies: work-readiness training; short or long-term skills training; and combined technical and business skills training. All strategies include one-on-one job coaching and job placement assistance.
“With the rapid growth and advancement in the IT industry, it has become a key focus of our workforce development programs,” said Robert Ricci, administrator of Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston. “The industry not only opens door for economic growth but also provides exciting new career opportunities for our clients. Tech Force RI will help equip those who are interested in building upon their existing skills to better prepare them for these high demand jobs that are readily available.”
Directly aligning to meet industry needs, Tech Force engages local IT employers to participate in candidate training and career opportunities. Continued training and On the Job Training funds are available to employers who hire Tech Force RI participants.
“The Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island’s On the Job Training program has demonstrated success for trainees and employers,” said Nancy Olson, executive director of the Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island. “We have observed the benefits of the On the Job Training Program and the difference it has made in the lives of our customers. We are eager to assist the participants of Tech Force Rhode Island and are confident their experience will be the same.”
IT is one of the fastest growing and highest paid industries in Rhode Island and nationally. Statewide, the average IT salary is $79,226 annually, nearly double the average private sector wage. Rhode Island LMI 2022 Industry Outlook data projects the Computer and Mathematical occupational group to be one of the fastest growing – needing to fill 4,254 job positions (replacement and growth) through 2022. Also, among LMI’s “2012-2020 – 50 Fastest Growing Occupations,” five are IT occupations. They are: Computer Systems Analysts; Software Developers, Applications; Computer User Support Specialists; Computer & Information Systems Managers; and Web Developers.
“Our IT industry is a direct driver of Rhode Island’s economic momentum,” said Kathie Shields, executive director for Tech Collective. “It provides viable, sustainable careers to Rhode Islanders and enables innovation and growth for companies across all industries. It is this impact as well as the inherent flexibility to learn and enter the IT field that makes Tech Force Rhode Island an ideal opportunity for our state. We are excited to be working with our partners to launch the Tech Force website as an important part of our ability to provide opportunities to workers who might not otherwise have them and to connect employers with an expanded hiring pool which brings transferrable skills and diverse approaches. We believe this will be a future model for other states and industries.”
Tech Force programs and services are open to employers and are free to qualified Rhode Island residents and those who have been displaced from a Rhode Island employer. USDOL Ready to Work Partnership grants are funded by fees paid by employers to bring foreign workers into the U.S. under the H-1B non-immigrant visa program. To apply, learn more about participating employers, or take advantage of Tech Force Rhode Island services, visit techforceri.org.
Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston: Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston is the administrative entity for the Providence/Cranston Workforce Investment Board. Their mission is to continuously improve the Providence/Cranston workforce investment area’s capacity to connect people, employers, jobs, education, and service. Their vision is to create a rich, vibrant, competitive economy in the Providence/Cranston workforce investment area where people find good jobs, employers find the skilled workers they need, and where all parties find the Providence/Cranston area a place they want to live, work, and invest. Learn more: https://www.providenceri.com/wspc.
Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island: The mission of the Workforce Partnership of Greater RI (WPGRI) is to provide strategic leadership to meet the current and future human resource needs of Rhode Island’s employers and to ensure a well-trained, self-sufficient and adaptable workforce. The Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island, Inc. is an employment and training resource providing responsive, market-based solutions for employers and potential workers. WPGRI will collaborate with business, labor, education leaders and community-based organizations to establish a dynamic, outcome-driven, visible resource providing measurable and comprehensive market-driven based employment and training services. These services will include the provision of information, technical assistance and life-long training opportunities to customers. Employers will have access to a well-trained and dependable workforce. Learn more: http://www.griworkforce.com.
Tech Collective: Tech Collective is Rhode Island’s Information Technology and Bioscience Industry Association. We foster the growth, innovation, and economic momentum of Rhode Island’s high-tech industries and workforce. Collaborating with local and national government, industry, and academic partners, Tech Collective programs directly impact Rhode Island. Since its transition from the Rhode Island Technology Council (RITEC) in 2004, Tech Collective has received more than $12M in federal, state, and private grant funding. Awards and funding include Governor’s Workforce Board RI Industry Partnerships, Real Jobs RI, Ready to Work/ Tech Force RI, and national recognition with the state of Rhode Island from President Obama’s TechHire initiative. Get connected to Tech Collective at www.tech-collective.org, on LinkedIn (Tech-Collective), on Twitter (@Tech_Collective), and on Facebook (TechCollectiveRI).