Leaders from Industry and Education Collaborate to Improve Career Pathways for Students
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - As Rhode Island continues to expand career education pathways for all Rhode Island students, Governor Gina M. Raimondo has made several new appointments to the Rhode Island Career and Technical Board of Trustees, including naming Linda Larsen of the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA) as the new Chair.
"Since 2015, we have increased the number of quality career education programs by 56 percent, thanks in part to the support and leadership of the CTE Board of Trustees," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "The industry leaders who generously give their time and expertise to serve on this Board know better than anyone what businesses need to grow and thrive, and their guidance ensures that our statewide education and economic development strategies are supporting business and cultivating a strong talent pipeline for the future. I want to thank Linda for her commitment and enthusiasm, and all of the incoming members for their willingness to partner with us in this important work."
"Historically, education has been too focused on supply, but we cannot assume that we know best what our partners in the economic development sector need. We are working to shift that paradigm to focus instead on demand - demand from our students and families on what they want to learn and experience, and demand from businesses on the skills that students need to be successful in the workforce," said Ken Wagner, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. "We're grateful to the CTE Board of Trustees and all who serve for their leadership in closing the skills gap in Rhode Island and helping to build a more seamlessly aligned system from high school to college to career."
Larsen will take over as chair from Al Lubrano, who will continue to serve on the Board.
"It is an honor to be selected by Governor Raimondo as the Chair of the RI Career and Technical Board of Trustees. By allowing all students access to high quality career and technical education programs in high-wage, high-demand industry sectors, we are preparing them for future success in our ever-changing world," said Linda Larsen, Director of Education Outreach at SENEDIA. "The future workforce in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) fields will ensure continued innovation and growth for the Rhode Island economy. STEAM is career and technical education, and the career and technical education ecosystem is building these future workers. The continued growth of the RI Defense Cluster depends on the determination, creativity and curiosity of all of our students today, who will be our workforce tomorrow," said Linda Larsen, director of education and outreach at SENEDIA.
Also appointed this week to the CTE Board of Trustees:
- Brett LaPlante of Chepachet, Organizer for UA Local 51 Plumbers, Pipefitters, and HVAC
- William McCaffrey of Scituate, Director of the Warwick Area Career and Technical Center
- Lelani Williams of Cranston, independent business owner of Total Life Changes
Created by the General Assembly as a way to increase collaboration between public education and industry, the CTE Board of Trustees works closely with the Rhode Island Career and Technical Education Trust to promote workforce development and better alignment between what students are learning in classrooms and what they need to be successful in the workforce.
The Board helps to review applications for new and expanding CTE programs in Rhode Island high schools, and is also a key sounding board and partner on career exploration and education programs through the Prepare Rhode Island (PrepareRI) initiative.