§ 40-5.2-4. Collaboration between the department of human services and the department of labor and training.
Promoting economic independence through the Rhode Island Works Program.
(a) The department of human services, through the Rhode Island Works Program, in collaboration with the department of labor and training, shall promote economic independence and help maintain and strengthen family life by enabling persons with dependent children to assume responsibility for their families through the dignity of work.
(b) The department of labor and training, the lead agency responsible for employment, job training and workforce development services for the State of Rhode Island, is hereby authorized to establish and provide intensive employment services to cash assistance recipients in accordance with state and federal law, regulation and funding.
(c) The intensive employment services authorized by this section shall include, but are not limited to, the provision of job skill assessment including assessment of English literacy and numeracy, job counseling, job testing, job matching, supervised job search, job development, job readiness services beyond those currently available through federal authority. Through the intensive employment services the department shall identify physical and mental challenges that indicate the participant should be referred to the Office of Rehabilitative Services (ORS) for development of a rehabilitation employment plan and/or that require accommodations in securing employment. The intensive employment services shall also include an employer outreach program to encourage the employment of Rhode Island Works Program participants in the private sector and to disseminate information regarding both federal and state tax credit programs for which public assistance recipients are eligible.
(d) The intensive employment services shall help participants identify strengths, barriers, and employment opportunities taking into account the participant's work readiness and employment history as well as vocational training that can increase the participant's earning ability. The department of labor and training shall provide personnel qualified to manage and oversee structured job search activities of program participants that result in employment, including part-time, at or above the state minimum wage, as quickly as possible, and/or within the time frames permissible under federal guidelines applicable to the Works Program cash assistance program.
(e) Intensive employment services shall be delivered jointly through co-location of staff from the department of labor and training and the department of human services; with primary activities being provided throughout the State's One Stop Career Centers. Where such Centers are not accessible to Rhode Island Work participants, the department of labor and training and the department of human services shall work in collaboration to identify alternative sites.
(f) The department of human services and the department of labor and training are hereby authorized to operate or contract for work readiness activities and intensive work readiness activities for those individuals whose employment plan includes participation in such activities. Work readiness activities are of limited duration, and are designed to help prepare participants for work by assuring that participants are familiar with general workplace expectations and exhibit work behavior and attitudes necessary to compete successfully in the labor market. To the extent practicable, work readiness activities should involve supervised community work experience or unpaid work experiences in the private sector. Intensive work readiness services include activities that are designed to prepare participants who have limited literacy and work history with the minimum skills necessary to achieve entry level employment.
(g) The department of labor and training and the department of human services may collaborate on the delivery of short-term training vouchers for parents/participants approved for such service, the development of unpaid work experience and community service programs, and the oversight of any performance-based work programs which are subcontracted to meet the special needs of hard-to-employ parents/participants who receive temporary cash assistance under this chapter.
(h) If during intensive employment services, a parent/participant in the program is assessed as being more likely to succeed in competitive employment if first provided a short-term intensive intervention, the department of human services and the department of labor and training staff may jointly define next steps.
(i) The Rhode Island department of labor and training shall continuously survey employers in the state to identify employment positions for persons eligible for family assistance.
(j) The department of human services and the department of labor and training shall establish performance standards for the intensive employment services available through the Works Program to ensure that the goals of this act are met and that the State meets the federal work participation requirements.
(P.L. 2008, ch. 100, art. 16, § 1.)