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Rhode Island Secures Grant to Develop Bold Plan to Improve Career Preparation Systems for Young People

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Gina Raimondo today (April 4) announced that the Rhode Island Department of Education has secured a $100,000 grant to develop a detailed career-readiness action plan, an essential step to expanding economic opportunity for young people across the state.

“To prepare our kids for success in the workforce of tomorrow, we have to do everything we can to ensure that Rhode Island high-school graduates build the skills that matter for jobs and careers that pay,” Raimondo said. “We are pleased and grateful to receive the New Skills for Youth planning grant, which will help us focus and advance our efforts toward aligning our career-and-technical system with the most rapidly growing fields in the Rhode Island economy. This work will benefit Rhode Island students, families, and the business and industry community.”

Rhode Island will use this planning grant to help ensure that:

  • career-and-technical education programs in the state are aligned with industry standards, so that students will graduate from these programs with industry-recognized credentials, ready to begin their careers;
  • Rhode Island continues to expand and develop career-preparation programs in the areas most likely to grow in the Rhode Island economy; and
  • experts with strong experience and expertise in various business and industry fields will have pathways through which they could receive certification in order to teach students in career-technical programs.

Rhode Island is among 24 states and the District of Columbia that secured grants for this work through phase one of New Skills for Youth grant opportunity. The grants are one piece of a $75 million, five-year initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), a nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education, and Advance CTE, a national nonprofit that represents state directors and leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary, and adult Career Technical Education (CTE). The initiative is aimed at increasing economic opportunity for young people by strengthening career-focused education starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with business needs.

“Rhode Island families are eager for career-technical education programs that prepare their children for postsecondary education, careers, the workforce, and life,” Education Commissioner Ken Wagner said. “The New Skills for Youth grant will enable us to develop a detailed action plan to help our high-school students attain the skills and knowledge they will need to excel in the 21st-century job market and to contribute to the Rhode Island economy.”

“The Department of Labor and Training is dedicated to the Governor’s mission of developing skills that matter for jobs that pay,” Department of Labor and Training Director Scott Jensen said. “The best way government can help employers succeed in the competitive global economy is to tightly align our programs with the high-skill, high-demand needs of business and industry and build a pipeline of well-educated, well-trained, ready-to-compete talent. This New Skills for Youth grant will help Rhode Island incorporate some of the best thinking and practices in work-based learning.”

“States across the country are adjusting their career-readiness programs to ensure they adequately prepare students for their next step after graduation,” CCSSO Executive Director Chris Minnich said. “States have seized this grant opportunity to pursue bold plans for pathways that will put kids on a course for success after high school and beyond.”

“We must address the youth career crisis, and it starts in our schools,” JPMorgan Chase Head of Workforce Initiatives Chauncy Lennon said. “These grants kick-start an effort to ensure career-and-technical education systems are better aligned with the needs of business and leaders throughout states are committed to tackling youth employment.”

More information on the New Skills for Youth grant opportunity and the CCSSO Career Readiness Initiative is available here.