February 9, 2016 | The R.I. Department of Labor and Training is funding a program called Platform to Employment, or P2E, to help the long-term unemployed.

Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 BY PATRICIA DADDONA, PBN STAFF WRITER

CRANSTON — Rhode Island is launching a program called Platform to Employment to help the long-term unemployed.

Funded by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training, the “P2E” program starts with mandatory job readiness training for five weeks including skills assessment, career readiness workshops, career coaching, financial counseling, family support services and job-placement strategy.

This intensive approach has helped 80 percent of participants in other states find good jobs, DLT reports. Connecticut is the only other state to embrace the program statewide, the agency said in a press release.

Long-term unemployed are those who have been unemployed for 26 weeks or more and have exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits. The program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. DOL’s most recent unemployment insurance data summary report shows that in 2015, 32 percent of the jobless in Rhode Island exhausted their benefits before finding work with nearly 11,000 claimants exhausting benefits in all, DLT said.

DLT Director Scott Jensen forged the partnership between the WorkPlace, the nonprofit that launched P2E, and grass-roots organization Job Club RI, a nonprofit group that runs six-week-long cycles of meetings and guidance to help the long-term unemployed find work.

DLT is paying for both the Job Club RI and P2E programs by repurposing $1.5 million in existing National Emergency Grants funding in a way that will better help Rhode Islanders who need it.

Said Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, “I’m excited about the partnership among the Department of Labor and Training, Platform to Employment and Job Club RI and about our aggressive plan to help Rhode Island workers who have been struggling find meaningful work.”

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