State Leadership Releases Report Outlining Recommendations of CCRI 21st Century Workforce Commission
Published on April 14, 2010
Today at the CCRI Knight Campus in Warwick, Governor Donald L. Carcieri, Speaker Gordon D. Fox, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RI EDC), and the CCRI 21st Century Workforce Commission released the CCRI Commission's report, Community College of Rhode Island: Building a 21st Century Workforce. The report, which outlines four recommendations based on the best practices of community colleges across the nation in driving workforce development, hopes to help strengthen CCRI's position as a critical resource to educate workers for high-wage jobs in the state's 21st century knowledge economy.
The Commission, made up of lawmakers, educators and labor officials, partnered with the New York Based Workforce Strategy Center to research best practices at similar institutions, interview a variety of stakeholders, and work to create a final report.
‚??We believe the recommendations suggested are critical to moving CCRI in a direction that will enable it to build on and strengthen its current workforce strategies,‚?Ě said Armeather Gibbs, the commission chairwoman and chief operating officer of the United Way of Rhode Island. ‚??This work is all about recognizing initiatives that are already in place and ‚??connecting the dots‚?? between education, work force development, job creation, economic development and the overall opportunities for greater financial stability for citizens, employers and the state as a whole.‚?Ě
The four recommendations outlined in the report suggest the college:
- Create a statewide career pathway system that is driven by industry needs;
- Strengthen CCRI's capacity to raise the knowledge and skill levels in the state's population;
- Encourage a culture of innovation and responsiveness at CCRI to meet the workforce development needs of students and business; and
- Leverage resources and partnerships including the Governor's Workforce Board throughout the state to accomplish the Commission's recommendations.
While the only community college in RI already plays a crucial role in workforce development by supplying the largest amount of health care workers to the state, the Commission feels the college could be doing more.
‚??The commission‚??s research indicates that CCRI is also well-positioned to address demand for workers in financial, accounting, information technology, engineering and technology fields, as well as supervisory positions across industries,‚?Ě the report states. ‚??To meet these demands, CCRI must increase enrollments in new areas of study, graduate more students with certificates and degrees in areas of industry demand, and offer more opportunities for students to gain work experience,‚?Ě the report continued. ‚??It must also address the repeated call from employers for entry-level workers with soft skills. These include communicating in a professional manner and providing customer service.‚?Ě