Rhode Island’s “secret closet economist, “ Governor Gina Raimondo was featured on Freakonomics Radio January 10th. We recommend you take a listen: How to Be a Modern Democrat — and Win.
In the interview with Stephen Dubner, Gina talked about why she is moving mountains to find money to invest in education, workforce development, and infrastructure, and being hard-nosed about following the numbers. “We have put in place a system to measure the outcomes of our job training and we get rid of programs that are not resulting in jobs.”
“When I took office, I knew I wanted to talk about job training, education, and apprenticeships. Previously we had a train and pray model: Train people, then pray they get a job. “ We live in the age of evidence based-medicine and data-driven marketing. The evidence-based approach pays dividends in guiding the way the state spends its education dollars. And the evidence leads us to Apprenticeship.
Governor Raimondo brings it all back to the basics. “What most people crave is a decent job with economic security, so if you are afraid to talk to business, or appear too close to business, it is hard to actually tap into people’s real and legitimate anxiety about the economy because folks just want a job. What do you want for your kids? You want them to be happy and have a steady job. “
Governor Raimondo spoke of being inspired by the success of apprenticeship in Europe. “I believe in really pushing the limits of apprenticeship, and not just for traditional plumbing, pipefitting, and welding. What we are doing in Rhode Island around apprenticeship is cybersecurity technician, community nurses, public health people, IT employees, and computer techs. The days of going to high school and getting a decent job are sadly behind us, so we have got to retool. The apprenticeship model can be very effective to get folks high-end skills, advanced skills to get a decent job and keep a decent job.”