RIDE Announces Nearly $400,000 in Career and Technical Education Grants to Support Multilingual Learners

Published on Monday, March 13, 2023

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Dan McKee, Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) today announced applications have opened for the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Comprehensive Equity Grant. Totaling $390,000, the grant program aims to close equity gaps and create opportunities for multilingual learners (MLLs), who have not historically participated in high-quality CTE programs. 

“Through the CTE Comprehensive Equity Grant, Rhode Island is sending a message to our students and families that we support them and are committed to providing the tools they need to succeed,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Programs should be designed so that all students have the skills and experience to participate in high wage jobs, regardless of their background. We encourage all eligible high schools to apply for this excellent opportunity.”   

“Our multilingual learners deserve an equal chance to hone the valuable professional skills that CTE can provide. This grant program will ensure our districts can identify and overcome barriers that prevent their MLLs from enrolling in CTE,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “I am looking forward to seeing what innovative solutions schools create with the help of this funding.”

According to the most recent Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Report, MLLs comprise 10% of all Rhode Island high school students in schools with RIDE-approved CTE programs. This same data source shows that MLLs account for only 6% of CTE enrollment. Within this population, MLLs are enrolling in high-wage, high-demand fields at a lower rate than their non-MLL peers. For example, MLLs are enrolling in Information Technology (IT) programs at half the rate of their non-MLL peers. Despite considerable benefits of CTE for MLLs, there clearly remains significant barriers for these learners to fully access and succeed in CTE programs. 

“When we provide equal access to rigorous, engaging, and relevant learning experiences, all students can excel,” said Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Patti DiCenso. “The Council is grateful to see continued investments being made to help our multilingual learners across Rhode Island. Together we can ensure all students have paths to success and help students recover post-pandemic.” 

“When given the opportunity, multilingual learners can thrive and excel in CTE programs, strengthening their language skills while gaining a competitive edge for life after high school,” said Commissioner Infante-Green. “The CTE Comprehensive Equity Grant will not only help create climates of equity and success for our students, but also position our educators to better recognize equity gaps and develop inclusive and innovative college and career pathways. To move our state education system forward post-COVID, we need to ensure all students are not just on track to recover - but move further ahead.” 

Awarded funds will assist specific RIDE-approved CTE programs in supporting MLLs and/or to develop pathways/opportunities for students to better access CTE programming. Eligible local education agencies (LEAs) are asked to propose programmatic and/or policy solutions to demonstrate these supports. Proposals may focus on raising CTE awareness and readiness in middle school, improving MLL-specific evidenced-based instructional practices, offering professional development opportunities, and partnering with postsecondary institutions that will offer dual/concurrent enrollment opportunities, among other supports. 

Using most recent data, RIDE analyzed high schools with RIDE-approved CTE programs for both of the following criteria: 

1.    High schools that serve an MLL student population of 10% or more; and 

2.    MLL students that represent 5% of more of a school’s CTE enrollment. 

Applying the above criteria, the following high schools are eligible to apply:

Fig. 1 - High School Eligibility
LEA School MLL Student Population MLL CTE Enrollment
Central Falls Central Falls High School 50% 38%
Cranston Cranston High School East 13% 5%
  NEL / CPS 11% 14%
Newport Rogers High School / NACTC 18% 13%
Pawtucket Tolman High School 16% 18%
  Shea High School 25% 24%
Providence Central High School 38% 14%
  Hope High School 38% 26%
  Mt. Pleasant High School 39% 18%
  Cooley High School 45% 31%
  PCTA High School 24% 24%
The MET The MET 11% 11%
Woonsocket Woonsocket High School / WACTC 14% 8%

If all eligible high schools apply and are approved, each high school will receive approximately $28,000.  

The CTE Comprehensive Equity Grant announcement comes alongside strong momentum and investment in career and technical education in Rhode Island. RIDE is set to release the CTE Teacher Grant which offers funding opportunities centered around CTE educators' certification and professional learning needs. Both the CTE Comprehensive Equity Grant and CTE Teacher Grant are funded through RIDE's Perkins V Reserve grant program. Additionally, Rhode Island’s newly revised Secondary Regulations, which are the most commented on set of regulations in the state’s K-12 history, prioritize real-world relevant learning experiences and provide flexibility to empower students to create their own futures through CTE. 

There are currently 255 approved CTE programs across the state, 24 of which are new in the 2022-2023 school year. In December 2022, RIDE approved 23 new programs for the 2023-24 school year. Further, RIDE is set to release a CTE Teacher Grant which offers funding opportunities centered around CTE educators' certification and professional learning needs. Both the CTE Comprehensive Equity Grant and CTE Teacher Grant are funded through RIDE's Perkins V Reserve grant program. Review the Industry-Specific Program Standards, recently endorsed by the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education.

Further, in accordance with the Learning, Equity, & Accelerated Pathways Task Force Report, RIDE is elevating and centering the needs of historically underserved students, including multilingual learners. Recently, RIDE announced the recipients of MLL Success Grants, which will aid in the implementation of the Blueprint for Multilingual Learner Success. This comprehensive guide identifies the need to provide increased supports for MLLs to graduate ready for college and career. With its requirements for industry partnerships, industry-recognized credential achievement, work-based learning activities, and early college opportunities, RIDE-approved CTE programming is the ideal lever to ensure MLLs can achieve postsecondary success.  

See details on the grant opportunity, including weekly CTE office hours and spend down deadlines.

Applications are due March 31. Winners will be announced in April.


Contact: Victor Morente

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