R.I. receiving funding to close skills gap

May 29, 2015

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island is one of four states receiving $180,000 in funding and technical assistance through the National Skills Coalition to help close the skills gap here.

The Washington, D.C.-based coalition, which is comprised of employers, unions, education and training providers, and public officials, also awarded the funding and aid to the states of California, Mississippi and Ohio. The initiative is dubbed the State Workforce Education Alignment Project.

The new data tools used with SWEAP funding will help elected officials in these states create policies to establish better aligned state workforce development and education systems, said Andy Van Kleunen, the coalition’s CEO. Coalition experts will work with top officials in each state to use system-wide information about workforce education and training programs to coordinate programming and employer skill needs, and support the needs of individual workers, he said.

“The competitiveness of each state’s workforce is critical to the economic growth of our nation,” Van Kleunen said. “But without sufficient, accurate and measurable information, it’s hard for states to bring their human capital policies to the next level. SWEAP will create better cross-program information that allows states to see how these programs can work together, and how individuals can advance through them over time in the pursuit of postsecondary credentials and higher-paying employment.”

The SWEAP project is led by National Skills Coalition and funded by JPMorgan Chase, Ford Foundation, and USA Funds.