Posted by: Providence Chamber of Commerce | May 29, 2012

RI Congressional Delegation Participates In Roundtable Discussion on Workforce Training and Adult Education

     “Washington Delegation, Adult Education and Workforce Roundtable” was hosted by Dorcas Place, an adult and family learning center, with all four members of Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation participating in the discussion. Neil Steinberg, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation hosted the event and Chamber President Laurie White served as panel moderator.
     The role of adult education and workforce training in helping to bolster RI’s economy was the focal point of the conversation. In RI, approximately 150,000 adults are eligible to benefit from adult education services however, only 6,500 people receive those services due to funding constraints, according to Senator Jack Reed. In RI, 40% of the state’s residents currently have a college degree.
     It is predicted that by 2018, approximately 60% of the jobs available in the Ocean State will require higher education degrees — representing a 20% gap between the number of jobs requiring a college degree and the number of RI residents with the expertise that comes with an Associate’s or Bachelor’s diploma. In the Senate Appropriations Committee, level funding has been recommended for workforce training and adult education programs, coming at a time when many other programs are facing severe cuts.

     On the House side, according to Congressman David Cicilline, there was a proposal introduced to completely eliminate the Workforce Investment Act. In 2012, the House cut $2.2 billion for workforce and job training programs. The clear message to those present at the roundtable discussion was that there are fewer resources available in spite of growing needs in the community.

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