PROVIDENCE, RI - Governor Gina Raimondo, along with the state's Congressional delegation today announced that the White House has chosen Rhode Island to be a part of the President's TechHire initiative, a bold multisector effort to empower Americans with the skills they need to succeed in today's economy.

TechHire cities and states work with employer partners on new ways to recruit and place applicants based on their skills, create more accelerated tech training opportunities, and invest in innovative placement programs to connect trained workers with entrepreneurial opportunities and well-paying jobs.

"I'm thrilled to see Rhode Island recognized by the White House for our innovative efforts to strengthen workforce development and prepare our workers with the tools they need to succeed in today's economy and beyond," said Raimondo. "Thanks to this recognition, we now are able to bring even more employers together to send a clear signal to the rest of the country that Rhode Island is cultivating talented, skilled workers and sparking a comeback."

As part of the selection process for the TechHire initiative, Rhode Island has assembled 18 employers, including CVS, Citizens Bank, Fidelity, and Innovex, to recruit over 2,000 candidates from fast-track tech training programs by 2018. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, (DLT) Commerce RI, and Opportunity@Work are working with Tech Collective to develop Rhode Island's IT workforce pipeline and train individuals through bootcamp-style IT training programs, with a focus on low-income community members.

"We need to find innovative ways to build an effective pipeline of tech talent here in Rhode Island.  That means training workers and connecting them to good-paying jobs in in-demand fields.  TechHire is a smart step toward strengthening our technology workforce and growing the state's economy.  It can help remove barriers to training and employment and help more motivated workers learn new technical skills and earn a good paycheck.  I applaud the state and its partners for developing local strategies to connect people to jobs and opportunities," said Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Last year, Reed and members of the Congressional delegation helped secure $7.5 million in federal funding to support local workforce partnerships such as Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston and The Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island and help them prepare local workers for high-level jobs in technology-related fields. 

By joining the TechHire initiative, Rhode Island will also have the opportunity to compete for a portion of $100 million in federal grants that have been set aside for related job training programs.  And tech companies such as Microsoft are also expected to offer training programs in conjunction with TechHire.

"Rhode Island's inclusion in this initiative will further accelerate efforts to train workers and connect them with the tech jobs that so many employers need to fill," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "It's a big boost to our state's job training efforts, and I thank the Obama Administration for including us."

"To help existing companies to grow and thrive, and to attract new businesses to Rhode Island, we need a well-trained workforce with 21st century skills for a 21st century economy," said Congressman Jim Langevin, who co-chairs the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus. "This designation gives our state an edge on attracting and keeping talent and I believe it will be a catalyst for economic development." 

"This is a big win for Rhode Island's working families," said Congressman David Cicilline. "The TechHire initiative will help connect middle class Rhode Islanders with education and workforce training opportunities to ensure they have the skills they need to compete for good-paying, high-tech jobs. I look forward to building on the good work our state is doing to connect workers with new tools and resources to compete in a global economy."

DLT Director Scott Jensen will represent Rhode Island at Tuesday's event at the White House.

"I am excited and honored to represent Rhode Island at the White House today," said DLT Director Scott Jensen. "The President's TechHire initiative shows that our nation's commitment to a sector-based, demand-driven workforce strategy starts at the very top. I look forward to working closely with the RI Commerce Corporation, Tech Collective, and some of our state's top employers to quickly connect more applicants including women, minorities, Veterans, and at-risk and disconnected young adults to high-paying jobs in high-tech careers."

"In addition to the initiatives of the state and Governor Raimondo, Tech Collective is proud to be working with Rhode Island IT employers and partners to promote this high-demand industry; train our incoming and current workforce; empower company advancement and growth; and connect Rhode Islander's to viable, sustainable careers," said Kathie Shields, executive director for Tech Collective. "The innovative, industry-led, and accessible programs recognized by TechHire are not only benchmarks of success nationally, but will also continue to foster Rhode Island's IT industry as a significant 21st century employer and economic driver in our state."