PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo traveled from Westerly to Woonsocket today with members of her Cabinet, holding a series of public events announcing new initiatives and highlighting progress that the state has made over the last 1,000 days.
Governor Raimondo kicked off the morning with a veterans breakfast in Westerly, joined by Rhode Island's first Director of Veterans Affairs, Kasim Yarn. During her time in office, Governor Raimondo has increased support to our state's 67,800 veterans, including working with the Department of Labor and Training to support veterans' transitioning into the workforce. In August of 2016, Rhode Island opened its first Veterans Resource Center with case managers to assist Veterans and their families. This November, a new, state-of-the-art Veterans Home will open in Bristol, ensuring that Rhode Island continues to provide the best care for our veterans.
Joined by Department of Labor and Training Director Scott Jensen and Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit, Governor Raimondo today announced an expansion of the successful Real Jobs Rhode Island Program--the Commercial Fishing Apprenticeship Program (CFAP). CFAP aims to develop Rhode Island's next generation of responsible fishers while placing Rhode Islanders in good-paying jobs. Rhode Island's licensed commercial fishing vessels are facing employee shortages due to lack of entrance of young workers. After a month-long, intensive training program, CFAP graduates are provided the opportunity to secure full-time employment aboard fishing boats.
Last year, East Greenwich was one of the first communities to win a Main Street Rhode Island Streetscape Improvement Fund. Today, Governor Raimondo visited the Nook, a local coffee shop on Main Street, to highlight the improvements to downtown East Greenwich and the impact they've had on small businesses.
Rhode Island is taking off. Following a series of new flight announcements, T.F. Green today celebrated the long-anticipated runway expansion that will serve as an important new marketing tool to attract new airlines and business at the airport. Now, with 8,700 feet of runway, T.F. Green can accommodate longer flights and attract tourists from all over the world. Governor Raimondo joined Rhode Island's entire congressional delegation at the event, along with Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio.
Rhode Island is on track to meet Governor Raimondo's CS4RI goal and offer computer science classes in every public school by the end of 2017. Today, the Governor visited Barrington High School, which has been at the forefront of computer science education in Rhode Island. Creating a talented and diverse pipeline of students with computer science expertise is critical to our economic future. Classrooms like the ones Governor Raimondo visited today are setting our students up to get tomorrow's great jobs.
Governor Raimondo also visited RhodeWorks construction on Smith Street. The Department of Transportation is resurfacing 1.6 miles of Smith Street in Providence, as well as adding new curbing and sidewalks, making ADA improvements, upgrading pedestrian facilities, installing new trees and more. The $4.2 project is on time and on budget. Since it was passed by the General Assembly in 2016, RhodeWorks has created thousands of construction jobs and made critical improvements to our state's infrastructure.
Governor Raimondo stopped by Farm Fresh's Harvest Kitchen today to celebrate their new location in Pawtucket. Harvest Kitchen provides hands-on job training in the food industries to youth, while also expanding neighborhood access to healthy fruits and vegetables. This past spring, the Governor launched Relish Rhody, a vision for food in Rhode Island. Harvest Kitchen is proof of our state's ability to innovate and create the kinds of programs needed to make that goal.
Every child deserves a safe loving home, and working parents deserve quality childcare that doesn't break the bank. This afternoon, Governor Raimondo held a frozen yogurt social for children in a Childcare Assistance Program at Highland Park Children's Center in Woonsocket. She also met with some of our state's most selfless individuals--foster parents. Rhode Island continues to seek foster parents so that youth who can be best served in a family setting aren't forced to live in congregate care. To learn more, visit http://www.dcyf.ri.gov/foster/.