EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence Career and Technical Center was one of eight schools to be included among an award of nearly $1.2 million by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) of CTE Innovation and Equity Grants, the state authority announced Thursday, June 7.
The funds, $150,000 to each institution spread evenly over two years, will be used for new and existing career education programs to help expand access for historically underserved students. The funding starts in the 2018-2019 school year. Twenty schools total applied for the monies.
The EPCTC will use its grant to increase access to CTE programs for low income students, specifically a new electrical program through targeted enrollment, expansion of the summer exploratory program, creating CTC remedial content support courses and establishing of work-based learning opportunities.
The grants are supported by existing state funding for career and technical education (CTE). These funds were used in years past for schools that wanted to start new CTE programs. This year, recognizing that equity gaps persist in career education, RIDE is repurposing the funding to support schools with specific plans to increase equity of access. The agency received 26 applications, accounting for $3.1 million in requests for the available funds.
Across industry sectors, there are significant equity gaps in the demographics of students who complete Rhode Island programs, including a 27 percent gap for women in IT, a 27 percent gap for students of color in business, and a 26 percent gap for low-income students in STEM, for example.
There are currently 155 approved CTE programs across the state, and applications for new programs for the 2018-2019 school year are currently under review. This year alone, RIDE received a record 59 applications for new programs.