PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee and Rhode Island Commerce today announced the next cohort of the Wavemaker Fellowship program, a competitive student loan reimbursement program for recent graduates working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and certain design fields. One hundred and twenty-one fellows have been selected, representing 87 different Rhode Island companies. For the first time, the Wavemaker Fellowship cohort comprises a majority of women, with 52 percent of awardees identifying as female.
"The Wavemaker program has a track record of helping ensure we keep our talent in state, which will only help further our state's economic momentum," said Governor Dan McKee. "This innovative program has proven beneficial in providing financial relief to a diverse group of college graduates and is a vital recruiting tool for our local companies that are searching for qualified candidates."
The Wavemaker Fellowship awards graduates working in STEM and design jobs in Rhode Island with a refundable tax credit that can cover student loan payments up to $6,000 per year for up to four years.
"STEM has historically been a male-dominated field, with only 27 percent of STEM workers being female," said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. "The Wavemaker fellowship is helping us break that pattern by supporting women in STEM and design. I'm excited to this see how this upcoming year's expanded Wavemaker program helps us retain talented Rhode Islanders in even more fields."
Eighty seven percent of fellows are Rhode Island residents and 69 percent come from Rhode Island institutions of higher education. Thirty percent of the fellows are engineers. Two even own their own businesses.
"An investment in Rhode Island's workforce is an investment in Rhode Island's economy. As Secretary of Commerce, I congratulate this year's Wavemaker Fellowship recipients, a diverse and talented group of young professionals. Rhode Island is honored to support you, via this award, and ensure you remain here to help our economy grow and flourish," said Commerce Secretary Liz Tanner.
"This year's Wavemaker class represents a talented and diverse pool of STEM professionals," said Rhode Island Commerce Corporation President and COO Hilary Fagan. "The Wavemaker Fellowship Program supports STEM and design workers and helps to build a highly skilled workforce to fill employment needs at Rhode Island companies."
The FY23 budget expanded the Wavemaker Fellowship program, including establishing an additional Wavemaker Healthcare Fellowship. More information on that program, including the application launch date, will be available in the coming months.