9/26/2011 — 

PROVIDENCE, RI -- U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today announced that the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) will receive more than $3.4 million for targeted job training and workforce development to help economically dislocated workers who are changing careers and increase the number of Rhode Islanders with a college degree or industry recognized credential.  This federal grant will support partnerships between CCRI and employers to develop programs that provide pathways to good jobs, including building instructional programs that meet specific industry needs. 

CCRI will use this funding for its newly developed Pathways to Advance Career Education (PACE) program, which will serve 600 individuals who qualify for the program.  The PACE program will focus on the health care and information technology industries.  CCRI will integrate promising practices into the PACE program and create an “earn and learn” model that will more effectively link education, training, and the workplace, and effectively address participants’ identified barriers to program completion.

“We congratulate CCRI for winning this competitive grant.  This federal funding will help CCRI expand their its capacity to help more Rhode Islanders complete a college degree and get the skills and training they need to get a good job.  By partnering with local businesses this program will help ensure we have a well-educated work force that can meet the demands of today’s employers” said Reed and Whitehouse in a joint statement.

Rhode Island employers will actively participate in the design and development of the new curriculum and will provide experiential learning opportunities for PACE participants, who will be able to translate credits earned into industry?recognized certifications associated with higher wages.

Key employer partners from the information technology and health care arenas, including the industry partnerships funded through the Governor’s Workforce Board, will play a key role in the implementation of this innovative program.  Many  agencies and organizations will be included in the project design and implementation, including: the Department of Labor and Training; netWORKri One-Stops; local workforce boards; labor organizations; RI Department of Education; RI Board of Governors for Higher Education; and community based organizations.

Senators Reed and Whitehouse supported the creation of this federal grant program in the Recovery Act amendments to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act and helped provided funding for the program in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which was signed into law on March 30, 2010.

The grant will be administered by the U.S. Department of Labor in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education.

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