Raimondo's State of the State Address to focus on opportunity

Raimondo's State of the State Address to Focus on Opportunity
Governor to discuss importance of skills training, education to ensure every Rhode Islander has a shot at a bright future

PROVIDENCE, RI - Governor Gina M. Raimondo will deliver her 2017 State of the State Address this evening (Tuesday 7 p.m.) in the House Chamber. Her speech, which will run approximately 30 minutes, will highlight successful efforts over the last two years to expand training initiatives which are helping Rhode Islanders develop the skills they need to compete in a changing economy. She will announce several initiatives aimed at expanding opportunity for Rhode Island's middle class.

Excerpts from the Governor's prepared remarks (subject to change prior to 7pm):

"For too many years, our state's leaders - in government and business - missed an opportunity to rebuild Rhode Island's manufacturing industry. They sat back on a simple hope that jobs like my dad's would come back; that the factories would miraculously reopen. 

"While the jobs may have left, and many of the factories have closed - Rhode Islanders' grit and determination and desire to work is stronger than ever. And we need to tap into it. Let's rebuild and reinvent the manufacturing industry in Rhode Island."

"As we continue to invest in Rhode Island, we need to realize that our economy has changed in ways that are causing real challenges. How we meet those challenges will determine our future.

"When I was my kids' age, most jobs in Rhode Island required nothing more than a high school degree. But, for my kids and yours, that's not the case anymore. The reality is that most jobs being created now in Rhode Island will require some degree or certificate beyond a high school diploma.

"Our job is to ensure that there is opportunity for every Rhode Islander who is willing to work for it. Our job is to ensure that Rhode Islanders are getting the jobs businesses are creating."

"Thousands of Rhode Islanders are learning new skills to compete in our growing advanced economy. I met a man last year in Westerly, at one of our training programs. He pull me aside and he said, 'Governor thank you for believing you can teach an old dog new tricks.' I do believe that. And I'm proud of the Rhode Islanders with the courage and determination to learn new skills in the middle of his career.

"The budget I'll send to the legislature protects and expands our investment in training programs so that every Rhode Islander can compete."

"Right now, fewer than half of Rhode Islanders have a degree or credential past high school. Many of those without a degree are hardworking, determined Rhode Islanders who realized early on that college just wasn't for them. And that's OK. We're going to continue to invest in training and certificate programs for them. 

"But too many others who want a college degree, have been denied a shot at a bright future for one simple reason: They can't afford it."

"When we're confronted by uncertainty, we hold to our founding covenant: That there's a place here for everyone. There's a place here no matter your race, your creed, your gender, where you're from or who you love."

(release from Governor's Office)