The legislation which has been sent to the governor for his signature is aimed at allowing students interested in careers in todays manufacturing industry to participate in programs that would prepare them for that field with training programs similar to career and technical high school programs for other industries, such as auto mechanics, construction and culinary arts. In creating this opportunity, the state has the chance to help foster a well-trained workforce that could attract manufacturers to Rhode Island.
Rep. Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln), sponsor of the House bill (2013-H 6062A), said giving students hands-on experience in the working world is one of the most valuable commodities one can have in todays world.
As we all know, the job market is difficult in Rhode Island, Representative Ackerman said. With this bill, we can open up another avenue to the youth of Rhode Island and give them the opportunities to learn, find work and prosper within our great state.
Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin, sponsor of the Senate bill (2013-S 0950A), added the legislation directs the Department of Labor and Training to establish these manufacturing standards for pre-apprenticeship or training agreements with a joint employer and employee groups.
There are sectors within manufacturing that require highly-trained employees and that pay accordingly for those valuable skills. We want those industries and those jobs here in Rhode Island, and in order to get them, we have to create the kind of trained workforce they need, said Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence). For students who are interested in the manufacturing industry, this is an opportunity to get a leg up, to acquire some of the advanced skills that are needed in todays industry, and to be ready to advance in their career when they graduate.
The House bill is part of the House leaderships 18-bill economic development package, which it introduced following an economic conference in which state representatives heard from a variety of stakeholders and experts on ideas for improving the states economy. Following up on that conference, several House committees conducted numerous public hearings with testimony offered by business, regulatory, workforce development and education leaders to aid in the development of the legislation.
Cosponsors in the House include Representatives K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick), John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton), Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence) and Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown). Cosponsors of the Senate companion include Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and Senators Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston), Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) and Paul W. Fogarty (D-Dist. 23, Glocester, Burrillville, North Smithfield).