To the Editor:
On behalf of RIMA, I would like to thank our sponsors, advertisers and all who attended our RI Manufacturing Renaissance event on Oct. 19. It was an evening of tremendous conversation and great fun. During the night we had a chance to recognize the terrific work of Beth and Kevin Cunha at the Center for Dynamic Learning in Providence; Briar Dacier from Davies Career & Tech High School in Lincoln; and the founding members of the Manufacturing Skills Initiative for RI. The work being done to encourage our youth to explore careers in manufacturing is absolutely wonderful. There is so much to be done, but we have a great starting point and some very enthusiastic and motivated education and training partners.
The role the business sector must play in the educational and workforce development system is more important now than ever. All businesses, not only manufacturing, need skilled workers who are up to the challenges of tomorrow. Education is a cornerstone of productivity and innovation in our economy. That is why we chose this as our focus this year.
The positive impact that a sound manufacturing base contributes to the local economy is well documented. A continued resurgence in manufacturing is important, not only as a sign of renewed strength, but also because manufacturing jobs are “good jobs”; they pay well, offer a challenging and rewarding career path, and provide good benefits to its workers and their families.
RIMA is helping lead the charge in this area. We have been meeting with officials at RIDE [Rhode Island Department of Education], as well as the various career and technical high schools, the numerous colleges and post-secondary education facilities, and private training providers. We have been active with the Governors Workforce Board and our legislative leaders. Our goal as the unified voice of manufacturing in R.I. is to make all parties aware of the rewarding careers available in manufacturing and to serve as a coordinator of the various resources. There are many terrific programs and activities, but we operate in silos.
Manufacturing in R.I. is poised for a renaissance – but we can’t do it alone.
William A. McCourt