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Shaping the Post-COVID Future

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State launches massive effort to train unemployed workers, fill open trade jobs

On August 3, Governor John Carney signed Executive Order 43, kicking off a statewide program that will retrain unemployed Delawareans for in-demand occupations in the trades.

Gov. John Carney signs an executive order Monday to create the Rapid Workforce Training and Redeployment Training Initiative. | PHOTO COURTESY OF GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

The program, known as the Rapid Workforce Training and Redeployment Initiative, will be funded with $10 million in federal dollars from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. 

Planning is still in the early stages, but is on a tight deadline because CARES Act funds have to be allocated by the end of the year and fully spent by the end of March, says William Potter, executive director of the Delaware Workforce Development Board. “There’s going to be a flood of qualified workers coming out in spring or early summer, and we’ve got to tell employers that they’re available and ready.”

Potter also wants employers to know that the state needs their feedback. “Tell us what you need and what we’re not doing right,” he says. “Email me if you have a good idea.”

For now, Potter and other leaders of the initiative are working with credentialed training providers, such as the Delaware Technical Community College’s Office of Work-based Learning, to determine how to serve the greatest possible number of interested applicants.

“We’re going to train as many people as we can,” says Potter.

Even as the initiative is still soliciting feedback from employers, a review of state data on in-demand occupations has suggested some areas of focus.

“The industries we’re looking at are primarily health care, IT, the construction trades, hospitality, and logistics and transportation,” Potter says.

If you’d like to know more about the Rapid Workforce Training and Redeployment Initiative or provide feedback, email william.potter@delaware.gov.

By Tina Irgang Leaderman

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