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Providence Mayor Cicilline Creates JOBS NOW! PROVIDENCE

March 22, 2010

Providence Mayor David Cicilline, Chair of the Conference of Mayors Children, Health and Human Services Standing Committee, announced in January the creation of JOBS NOW! PROVIDENCE. This new program capitalizes on federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to subsidize wages for low-income families and generate business expansion in Providence. JOBS NOW! encompasses the goals of ARRA by providing unemployed and disadvantaged residents with an immediate source of income while stimulating the local economy.

JOBS NOW! builds upon an already existing infrastructure of successful employment programs in Providence to create hundreds of subsidized jobs for struggling Providence residents. These existing programs have years of experience helping low-income and disadvantaged residents work toward self'sufficiency by addressing barriers to employment, developing soft skills and gaining work experience. JOBS NOW! capitalizes on this extensive job training and preparation experience to help JOBS NOW! participants obtain subsidized gainful employment during the program and better position them to find unsubsidized employment after federal funding ends. By utilizing this crucial job training component, Cicilline has leveraged his ARRA funds to enhance Providenceís local economy not only during the funding period, but for years to come.

This innovative initiative targets the casualties of the local economic recession, the unemployed and under-employed Providence families. Participants must be residents of Providence with a minor child and show proof of their right to work. In order to reach the full spectrum of disadvantaged residents, the program recruits through a wide range of associations including community-based organizations, individual employers and Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston. All potential participants must be screened for eligibility through Workforce Solutions to ensure that program employment opportunities reach the Providence residents who need them most.

As part of the program, participants have access to an individually assigned case manager to assist them in their transition back to work. In addition, all clients will continue to be eligible for all federal, state and local supportive services available to them, including food stamps, transportation assistance, mental health services, childcare and ancillary services.

Program participants have the opportunity to work in private for-profit, non-profit or public sector employment. After an expedited vocational assessment, Providence and Rhode Island Department of Human Services will place program participants in a sector that matches their skills, interests and potential with the needs and requests of JOBS NOW! employer partners. Employers have the option of placing a job order with Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston to find eligible job seekers or individually recruiting employees and referring them to Workforce Solutions to verify wage subsidy eligibility. Employers are then able to choose their employees from their individual recruits and any additional referrals from Workforce Solutions.

All employment positions pay at least the Providence minimum wage ($7.40/hr). JOBS NOW! participants may choose to work either part-time or full-time, depending on their individual schedule needs and family obligations.

JOBS NOW! PROVIDENCE is 80 percent funded through ARRA. This funding subsidizes 100 percent of wages for program participants in addition to training and administrative expenses. The remaining 20 percent of funds are provided by non-federal funds and contributions from public and private sector employers to help pay for employee benefits. Employers are responsible for financing fringe benefits, job site supervision, and payroll taxes. The program encourages employers to provide the same health benefits to JOBS NOW! participants as all other company employees.

Federal funding for the program is only available until September 30. Through this program, however, local businesses will have the opportunity to expand their capacity and revenue at a low cost and will look to maintain this increased output by retaining staff. Employers will likely hire program participants, who have acquired months of experience on the job, and who have already demonstrated their employability. In cases where employers cannot afford to continue employment after wage subsidies, program participants will have months of work experience and will have upgraded their skills, becoming more competitive for future employment. Employers who elect to hire program participants after subsidized funding has ended may also be eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

Partners of Cicillineís JOBS NOW! initiative include the Providence Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston and the Providence Economic Development Partnership (PEDP). Any employer in the Providence area may participate in JOBS NOW! and is not required to be a designated city vendor.

For more information, visit the website or contact NetworkRI at 401-462-8908.