WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 13, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — “Helping students build the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century economy is one of the best investments we can make. It’s investing directly in people to give them a ladder of opportunity, and it’s also an economic driver for our state. My jobs budget will invest in each rung of the ladder – our schools, college affordability, and workforce training for adults.” – Governor Gina M. Raimondo
Early Education: Uncovering the Potential of our Youngest Learners • Focus on early education to help kids make gains in reading, math, and social skills, and bridge the achievement gap for low-income students. • Fund full implementation of all-day kindergarten across Rhode Island by the 2016 school year. • Support expanding the number of state-sponsored Pre-K classrooms in RI from 17 to 60 by 2019. • Make record investments in K-12 – $35.5M increase over last year.
Prepare RI: Helping RI High School Students Prepare for College or a Career after High School • Invest in dual enrollment – if a student wants to go to college, or start a career right after high school, Prepare RI will make getting a degree or an industry certification more affordable & attainable. • Rethink how a student’s high school experience ends by empowering every qualifying high school student across the state to take postsecondary courses while in high school at no cost to the student. This will reduce the amount of time and expense for students to obtain a college degree or earn an industry certification and start a career.
Last Dollar Scholarships to Support Low-Income Students in Rhode Island • Restructure existing higher education grant programs and create a last-dollar scholarship program to fill unmet need for Rhode Island students to attend college. • In its first year, the program will invest $10 million of state funds in students with proven academic performance but for whom higher education might otherwise be unattainable. This opportunity was created by eliminating a redundant state agency.
College Loan Forgiveness Program • Institute a competitive Wave Maker program to keep young talent in RI and attract the best and brightest to the state. This initiative will pay for up to four years’ worth of student loan debt for approximately 100 recent graduates pursuing careers in technology, engineering, design, and other key sectors.
Education/Employers Partnerships and an Effective Job-Pairing Strategy • Rhode Island’s current workforce organization is slow to respond to business needs, money and effort is spread thin, and there is a shortage of skilled workers. • Increase coordination among high schools, community colleges, and businesses and forge clear pathways to good careers in key sectors. Qualified high school students can pursue a five- or six-year path to a high school diploma, an associate’s degree, and ultimately a job. • Align job training with businesses’ needs so we train people for jobs that exist.
School Building Authority: Students Deserve Quality Learning Facilities • Establish a state School Building Authority to put people to work renovating school infrastructure, prioritizing the schools in greatest need. Too many Rhode Island students attend crumbling schools.