PROVIDENCE – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza published a report Wednesday afternoon announcing the achievements, goals and future plans of the Career and Technical Education Task Force launched in October.
The report emphasizes the growing need for students to be versed in technical skills once they enter the work force in order to earn a living wage and remain above the poverty gap.
The Career and Technical Education task force, made up of area entrepreneurs, college and university staff members, and Providence-area executives, worked with students throughout the city’s public school district to raise awareness of career development at a young age, created apprenticeships for students looking to learn more about a specific field, and established partnerships between schools and area companies to develop future talent pipelines aimed at increasing local economic growth.
By integrating career development programs into the public school curriculum of middle school aged students Elorza hopes to get young children to recognize the important link between applying yourself at school and succeeding in a future career.
The Task Force also formed an advisory board to work with employers from the greater Providence area and engage them in the idea of hiring local students as apprentices. For example, in July 2015 Elorza created a subcommittee with the Providence/Cranston Workforce Development Board to develop a link that would connect more Providence area graduates with job openings at Electric Boat. The submarine design and construction company, through funding received by a Real Jobs Rhode Island grant from the Governor’s Workforce Board, developed training programs that would form a mid- to long-term pipeline of skilled workers to fill an estimated 10,000 empty positions in the maritime manufacturing industry over the next decade.
Through the work of the Career and Technical Education Task Force Elorza hopes to increase the number of students graduating from the city’s public schools as well as student’s reading and math comprehension rates, better prepare students to attend post-secondary education and therefore increase the number of public school students who enroll in colleges and universities, and create the foundations of a stronger-skilled work force who can have a greater economic impact on Providence.