Preparing Rhode Islanders

I chair the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus in Congress, and I am well aware of how critical CTE is for developing a skilled workforce. Thankfully, in Rhode Island, we have a statewide initiative, PrepareRI, that is looking to build career pathways for young people in high skilled fields. Since it launched in 2016, PrepareRI participants are creating training programs and partnerships for students. It really is inspiring to see our state’s education leaders committed to integrating CTE into Rhode Island’s education system.

I had the pleasure of delivering the keynote address at the first PrepareRI Summit, hosted by the Rhode Island Department of Education, and of meeting with important stakeholders from K-12 education, postsecondary education, businesses and community organizations. There are plenty of young, motivated workers in Rhode Island, but they need the training in growing industries such as advanced manufacturing, IT, and cybersecurity. During the summit, we discussed ways to tap into Rhode Island’s talent pipeline and improve youth career readiness to help our future workforce.

PrepareRI was founded on the belief that students, no matter their career paths, will require some postsecondary credential and practical work experience to be successful. CTE programs can help with that effort, by including apprenticeships to give students real-life skills while enabling them to explore careers they are interested in. Engaging in partnerships between CTE programs and high-demand industry leaders is one way we can close the skills gap in Rhode Island and reach our full economic potential.

PrepareRI is a great example of how collaboration between public and private partnerships can benefit Rhode Islanders, and I look forward to next year’s Summit!