CRANSTON, RI (January 26, 2017) - The week after her State of the State address which focused on expanding opportunity to ensure that every Rhode Islander has a shot, Governor Gina M. Raimondo today released details about a new Rhode Island Manufacturing Initiative and signed an executive order establishing the Rhode Island Manufacturing Advisory Council. The Governor announced the new initiative during a visit to Luca + Danni, a Cranston-based jewelry manufacturer.
"For too many years, our state's leaders in government and business missed an opportunity to rebuild Rhode Island's manufacturing industry," said Governor Raimondo. "While the jobs may have left and the factories have closed, Rhode Islander's grit and determination is stronger than ever and we need to tap into it. The Rhode Island Manufacturing Initiative will give our manufacturing companies the tools they need to invest in their business and ensure that Rhode Island's workers have the skills they need to compete in the 21st Century advanced manufacturing economy."
"Rhode Island is an incredible place to start a business, raise a family and enjoy an amazing quality of life," said Fred Magnanimi, founder, CEO and creative director at Luca + Danni. "As a small business owner, I'm pleased to see the initiatives that Governor Raimondo is putting forth and we're excited to be one of the young companies helping to drive a renaissance in Rhode Island-based manufacturing."
The Rhode Island Manufacturing Initiative includes economic development incentives to encourage manufacturers to purchase new equipment, launch new product lines and hire new workers. Additionally, it expands successful training initiatives, including the Real Jobs RI program which is helping Electric Boat, among other companies, train hundreds of Rhode Islanders to fill maritime manufacturing jobs at Quonset.
"As a pioneer of the industrial revolution, manufacturing has fueled Rhode Island's growth for centuries," said Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "The Governor's focus on manufacturing will help unlock the state's manufacturing potential and will further position the Ocean State as a manufacturing innovator."
"Rhode Island is well positioned to expand and modernize its rich manufacturing tradition," said Director of Labor and Training Scott Jensen. "Governor Raimondo is making the right investments to ensure that Rhode Islanders have the skills they need to get the jobs businesses and manufacturers are creating in our state. Because of this initiative, we will be able to make sure that more people have a shot at a good-paying career making things in Rhode Island."
The Rhode Island Manufacturing Initiative includes:
• $3.25 million investment to establish a Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit which provides manufacturing businesses with a refundable tax credit on a competitive basis for the purchase of new equipment;
• $550,000 to expand Polaris MEP technical assistance for local manufacturing companies;
• $1 million (of $2.5 million) in the Innovation Voucher program dedicated to supporting manufacturers' in-house research and development;
• New language in the Qualified Jobs Incentive Tax Credit program that reduces the minimum hiring requirement for growing manufacturers;
• Establishment of an Innovation Center for Design and Manufacturing to help entrepreneurs scale up and bring ideas to prototype and eventually to market.
Workforce Development, Training and Education
• $3.65 million to enhance manufacturing programs at the Davies Career and Technical High School;
• $2 million for the Job-ready Workplace Learning Program to provide refundable job training tax credits on a competitive basis to help support job training
• $1.2 million to invest in the state's Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) initiative to continue the manufacturing training partnership at Westerly High School and potentially create another partnership related to manufacturing;
• The Rhode Island's Promise free college proposal which will guarantee every Rhode Island student an opportunity earn an associate's degree from CCRI or attend URI or RIC tuition free their junior and senior year.
According to the Department of Labor and Training, the average wage for manufacturing workers has increased by 3.8 percent from 2014 to 2016 ($54,687 in 2014 to $56,780 in 2016). Wages in advanced manufacturing are up 3.5 percent over the same period of time, to $66,443 in 2016. Last year, the Brookings Institution reported that Rhode Island is adding advanced industry jobs at a faster pace than most states, including every other New England state.