Updated March 4 at 3:04pm

Higher ed. working toward skilled work force in R.I.

Ray Di Pasquale says the business community should expect a new level of cooperation from the state’s higher education system heading into 2010. More

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Higher ed. working toward skilled work force in R.I.

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Ray Di Pasquale says the business community should expect a new level of cooperation from the state’s higher education system heading into 2010.

Di Pasquale, president of the Community College of Rhode Island and the state’s new commissioner of higher education, expects CCRI, the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College to collaborate to deliver a work force that companies need.

Di Pasquale, David Dooley, the newly appointed URI president, and Nancy Carriuolo, who was appointed RIC’s president in May 2008, already have traded some ideas.

“As I see it, we have three institutions with two presidents – and I’ve been here only four years – who are new to the state, who have new energy, new ideas and who want to work with businesses very closely,” Di Pasquale said.

The three presidents recently testified before the House Finance Committee on the effects of recent budget cuts, including the $9.4 million they’ve been told to cut this academic year. State appropriations to the schools have been declining for years.

Yet Di Pasquale remains upbeat.

“We’re working very hard to find more partnerships, looking at stimulus money that’s coming down the road,” he said.

The CCRI 21st Century Workforce Commission, a special panel examining way to retool the school, is expected to issue its report later this month.

“I see the three colleges playing a major role in listening to businesses in a way they never have, through the Office of Higher Education,” Di Pasquale said. •

010410 FOCUS, Community College of Rhode Island, University of Rhode Island, and Rhode Island College, education, government, public policy, 24-39, issue010410export.pbn

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