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RIDE Offers Career Exploration Grants for Middle Schools

New Mini-Grant Program Will Connect Students Earlier to Career Pathways

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) is now offering a Career Exploration Grant for public middle schools that want to support and accelerate career exploration activities for students in grades 6 to 8. These mini grants are part of Prepare Rhode Island (PrepareRI), a statewide initiative to build career pathways for all Rhode Island youth.

Grants of up to $5,000 each will be awarded to 35 schools or more, and applications are due February 28, 2019.

“Aligning our classrooms to career pathways makes learning come alive, and makes education relevant in the lives of our students,” said Ken Wagner, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “We have done exciting work over the past three years to increase career education and hands-on learning opportunities for our students, but often, those pathways begin in high school. Through this grant program, we hope to expand career exploration in our middle schools and excite our students about the possibilities that await them in high school, college, and in the workforce.”

Through PrepareRI, the number of career education programs in Rhode Island public schools has increased by nearly 60 percent since 2015, with 203 programs now available across the state.

RIDE will award grants on a competitive basis for new or existing middle school career exploration activities in an effort to integrate early career exposure into core content. Programs must develop or adapt programming in partnership with industry representatives, so as to ensure alignment with workforce needs and demands.

Successful grants will embed activities into existing curriculum, ensuring sustainability and allowing for students to see increased relevance of their education. Applicants must also demonstrate partnerships between school and industry representatives, and provide peer-to-peer resources that increase school buy-in for adoption.

To learn more about the Career Exploration Grant or to apply, visit the PrepareRI website at www.Prepare-RI.org. Interested schools can also contact Onna.Holland@ride.ri.gov with questions.