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Opinion/Chenevert: Real Jobs RI is a real success story

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Guest columnist David M. Chenevert is executive director of the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association.

Six years ago, our state was in a tough spot. Skilled-labor jobs had been the lifeblood of Rhode Island’s economy for decades, but the lack of strong job-training programs had created a persistent skills gap. Rhode Islanders couldn’t get the advanced training they needed to get a good-paying job, and businesses like the ones I represent couldn’t find the skilled employees they needed to expand.

That changed when Gov. Gina Raimondo created Real Jobs Rhode Island in 2015. Over my three decades in machining and in my years as the head of the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association, I’ve spent a long time advocating for training opportunities to narrow the gap between the workforce and the roles manufacturers were looking to fill. Real Jobs RI is the first state-run program to truly meet that goal.

The reason it works is because it brings in businesses as active participants in the work. Instead of leaving the creation of curriculum up to a policy wonk with no hands-on experience in the industry, it’s being developed by the Rhode Island companies that know what to teach job-seekers because they know what […]

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