RIDE officials impressed by Warwick Career Tech Center (Warwick Beacon)

RIDE officials impressed by Warwick Career Tech Center (Warwick Beacon)

The two top officials from the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) spent about two hours touring various pathway programs offered at the Warwick Area Career and Tech Center (WACTC) at Toll Gate High School on Tuesday afternoon. They both left with very positive impressions of what they had seen.

“Warwick is a perfect example of someone who has been in this space for a very long time and is also staying on top of the game to keep their offerings fresh and exciting,” said Ken Wagner, Commissioner of the Elementary and Secondary Education for RIDE.

Bristol student charts her own course (Bristol Phoenix)

It’s been said that if you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life. It’s a lesson that one Mt. Hope High School student has learned early, thanks to an enrichment class and a statewide initiative to introduce Rhode Island students to the skills they need for well-paying jobs.

PrepareRI is an ambitious plan to improve youth career readiness. It is a partnership between the state government, private industry leaders, the public education system, universities, and non-profits across the state.

PrepareRI graduates first intern class (Valley Breeze)

PrepareRI graduates first intern class (Valley Breeze)

In reality, he said the program recognized that he is, “disabled but not at a disadvantage. As someone who is visually impaired, PrepareRI gave me the life-changing opportunity to compete and gain skills and experience that will give me a head start in my career field – without feeling like I’m at a disadvantage.”

“This is a phenomenal program,” Bove added. “They genuinely wanted to see us succeed. I’ve never participated in a more rewarding experience in my entire life.”

Passion and pathways in a new year (The Independent)

More students than ever are being exposed to career pathways, as early as middle school. More students are exploring those careers through internships and hands-on CTE classes. More students are challenging themselves with advanced coursework, and more students are earning college credits, at no cost, while still in high school.

Rhode Island has more programs to challenge and engage our students, and more opportunities for students to thrive.

A win for RIDE is a win for all (Warwick Beacon/Cranston Herald)

For a long time, a perception had existed – especially in places like New England – that “smart kids” went to private, four-year colleges after high school and “everyone else” wound up in community college or working a trade with only a high school diploma, if that, to their name. Trade schools and vocational schools were considered largely for the “troubled” kids who didn’t fit the framework of traditional public schools. Today, many states are reversing this perception, and Rhode Island is certainly among them leading the charge.

Learning the tools of in-demand trades (Warwick Beacon)

Learning the tools of in-demand trades (Warwick Beacon)

The goal in each program is to get teenagers acquainted with a skilled trade they likely never considered and to show them the potential value found within tech-related careers. The network program provides avenues towards careers in IT, systems administration and computer networks, while the marine trade program has a close connection with Electric Boat. In addition to the experience, the students are compensated for their summer work.

Unique entrepreneurship program offered at Scituate High (Valley Breeze)

Unique entrepreneurship program offered at Scituate High (Valley Breeze)

SCITUATE – After being considered the underdog of Career and Technology Education pathway programs, Scituate High School has announced it will add a new Rhode Island Department of Education-approved Entrepreneurship Academy to its available disciplines this fall.

IN OUR SCHOOLS - Pathway to competition (Valley Breeze)

More schools across the state are creating state-of-the-art career and technical education (CTE) programs, designed to prepare students for college or a career after high school. This year, schools applied to the Rhode Island Department of Education for 59 new CTE programs. There are now 155 RIDE-approved CTE programs in the state.

“Some view it as competition. I see it as growth for competence,” Barnes said. He said CTE pathways are essential to preparing students for a future with great jobs.