PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today declared October as Manufacturing Month in the State of Rhode Island. Joined by Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor, Department of Labor and Training Director Scott Jensen, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Ken Wagner and other members of her administration, the Governor signed the proclamation after visiting manufacturing classes at Davies Career & Technical High School.
"When I was growing up, my father's manufacturing job at Bulova Watch put food on our table," said Governor Raimondo. "It's crucial that we continue to invest in new skills and job training to ensure that manufacturing remains a vibrant part of Rhode Island's economy for generations to come. The funding we secured for Davies in this year's budget will help us do just that."
As the birthplace of America's industrial revolution and home to the nation's first textile mill, Rhode Island's manufacturing industry has a long and storied legacy. Since taking office, Governor Raimondo has fought for critical investments--including $3.65 million to Davies in this year's budget--that will help restore Rhode Island's status as a manufacturing epicenter. By investing in high school-level career and technical education and focusing on apprenticeship programs, we're ensuring that Rhode Islanders have the 21st century manufacturing skills needed to compete for jobs in advanced manufacturing.
"There is so much exciting work happening in career education in Rhode Island, and Davies is a perfect example. If we want all students to graduate with the skills and experience they need to compete in a 21st century economy, we need to connect our classrooms and advanced coursework to careers," said Commissioner Wagner. "Manufacturing in Rhode Island has changed, but by aligning our training and education programs with industry needs, we will prepare the workforce we need to be successful."
Today, our state is home to more than 1,500 manufacturing companies that employ over 41,000 Rhode Islanders. In 2017 alone, manufacturers in Rhode Island have created 1,100 new jobs. According to the Brookings Institution, Rhode Island's advanced industry economy, which includes advanced manufacturing, is adding jobs more quickly than every other New England state. Because of initiatives like Real Jobs RI and #CS4RI, which have strengthened Rhode Island's 21st century workforce, businesses like GE Digital, Deepwater Wind and others are taking a fresh look at our state.
"Manufacturing is an important part of our history and our future," said Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "The funds that Governor Raimondo proposed and secured in this year's budget for Davies will help modernize the school's manufacturing programs, better preparing students for careers in the industry. We're grateful for our partnerships with the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association and the Rhode Island Department of Education, which are helping to advance manufacturing in this state and create opportunities for our young people."
Rhode Island Manufacturing Month serves to recognize the resiliency of the manufacturing industry, highlight the extraordinary products and capabilities of manufacturing companies in Rhode Island and raise public awareness about the industry.
"With over 1,500 employers and 41,000 workers and jobs that pay solidly middle-class wages, the manufacturing sector is vital to our economy," said Department of Labor and Training Director Scott Jensen. "Rhode Island manufacturers make the official White House Christmas tree ornament, the Kentucky Derby trophy, and the world's fastest V-bottomed boat. DLT's job is to make it easier for our innovative advanced manufacturers to find the skilled talent they need to invest, compete, and continue to grow here and in markets around the world."