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McKee, DLT Unveil Employee Incentives for RI Businesses

[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.
The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.
The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence. RI’s “Back to Business” initiative will fund $4.5M in employee incentives to aid RI businesses in attracting workers during the pandemic labor shortage.

PROVIDENCE, RI — Gov. Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) are using $4.5 million in CARES Act funds to help businesses recruit employees lost during the pandemic and continuing labor shortage.

Grant monies from the “Back to Business” initiative can be used for new employee incentives, such as sign-on bonuses; referral incentives, in which an incentive payment is given to employees who successfully recruit a new hire for the employer; and other recruitment activities, such as job fairs, promotional materials, recruitment assistance, or ancillary supports, according to an announcement released to media Tuesday.

“Our administration has worked closely with the business community throughout the pandemic. We have listened to concerns from employers who are having trouble finding workers and believe the Back to Business initiative is an innovate approach to get Rhode Island back to work,” said Governor McKee. “Our team worked with the Department of Labor and Training to find a solution that would benefit both employers and employees. There is no single answer to this nationwide workforce challenge, but we believe the Back to Business initiative is part of the solution.”
These grants will be available to employers with fewer than 200 employees who are located in Rhode Island, suffered job losses during the pandemic, and have an ongoing labor shortage causing business interruption. Grant monies will be available on a first come, first served basis. Priority will be given to employers who have not received funding through similar federal initiatives (such as Restaurant Revitalization Funds or Shuttered Venue Operators Grants) and who have fewer than 50 employees. The maximum grant amount is $5,000 per employer. Recruitment incentives are capped at $1,000 per employee.
“The Back to Business initiative will assist in the state’s continued economic recovery. We’ve added thousands of jobs to the labor force over the past several months and this program will ensure our progress continues,” said DLT Director Matthew Weldon. “This initiative continues to set Rhode Island apart from the country as a leader in economic recovery post-pandemic. I would like to thank Governor McKee for taking action on this important issue.”
DLT is partnering with the nonprofit Skills for Rhode Island’s Future (Skills RI) to administer the program. DLT and Skills RI will review applications, determine employer eligibility, and disperse funds.
The application will open at 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 4, 2021 and will close at 4 p.m. on Friday, November 12, 2021. Subsequent rounds of funding will be announced if available. Employers can find the application form and answers to frequently asked questions at
Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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