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Rhode Island Foundation Blog


We are proud to be part of the Rhode Island community! Follow our blog for the latest news and occasional commentary about what’s happening at the Foundation and around our great state.

More skills, knowledge lead to higher quality jobs
By Jessica David / April 11, 2018 /   Loading Disqus...

Governor Gina Raimondo has set a bold goal for Rhode Island: that 70% of our residents have a postsecondary degree or credential by 2025. When the Foundation’s board recently adopted long-term impact targets to guide our strategic initiatives (economic security, educational success, and healthy lives), we included the 70% postsecondary attainment goal. We did this because we know that quality jobs – which allow Rhode Islanders to support themselves and their families, prosper, save, and give back to the community – require skills and knowledge beyond the high school level.

(That doesn’t always mean a four-year college degree, by the way. Apprenticeships, certifications, and credentials that are developed in partnership with industry are increasingly available.)

Rhode Island is currently at just 47% for postsecondary attainment, so we have much work to do. What’s more, as I recently heard Anna Cano Morales, associate vice president, community, equity and diversity at Rhode Island College, describe, there are actually two goals before us: reaching the 70% attainment target and closing the disparities that exist for certain demographics in our state. Among Black Rhode Islanders, the attainment figure is 30.6%, for Latinos, it’s 20%, and for Native Americans, 19.3%. These are unacceptable gaps.

The Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner is charged with developing a plan to address this goal and reporting on progress twice yearly. Commissioner Brenda Dann-Messier recently announced four logical strategies:

  1. Scale on-ramps to postsecondary attainment for adults.
  2. Strengthen investments in postsecondary retention and completion.
  3. Expand postsecondary access and preparation in the K-12 pipeline.
  4. Establish collective ownership of the goal. 

 You can read more about those strategies. We’re pleased to support Commissioner Dann-Messier’s efforts to institute a new professional development series supporting the effort. The series will bring national and regional experts on specific topics to meet with Rhode Island practitioners, with the goals of building a base of knowledge beyond specific institutions or areas of expertise and fostering relationships.

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