By: Rebecca Turco


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – New analysis from the Brookings Institution says Rhode Island needs to invest in “future” industries like STEM to strengthen the economy.

The analysis recommends both public and private sectors invest between $70 million and $110 million each year toward seven industries: five are STEM-related (biomedical innovation; IT-software, cyber physical systems and data analytics; defense shipbuilding and maritime; and advanced business services; design, food and custom manufacturing) and two are opportunity industries that don’t require a four-year degree: transportation, distribution and logistics; and arts, education, hospitality and tourism.

Governor Gina Raimondo had requested the study, which she says will help in, “Making sure we have skilled programs that train people for these jobs that are available, [and] making it easier and cheaper to do business in Rhode Island.”

“We have made some steps,” Raimondo added. “We have to do more.”

Opponents, like Mike Stenhouse with the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, feel this proposed plan does little to address working families and the average business owner. Stenhouse likens it to 38 Studios all over again.

“What we need in this state are broad based reforms, broad based tax relief that will benefit every Rhode Island family and business,” Stenhouse said.

Raimondo says the analysis may help shape her budget and future proposals: “Over time, we have to hit on all these cylinders to make Rhode Island a place of growth in these industries.”

Meanwhile, Stenhouse is calling on the General Assembly to look deeper. “Let’s not do more of this special interest, crony public policy,” he told ABC6 News.

The $1.3 million analysis took six months and was privately-funded through a consortium of supporters, according to Grace Palmer, communications advisor for the Brookings Institution.

© WLNE-TV 2016