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Jobs and the Economy


Rhode Island has a long legacy of economic prosperity. For decades, we were a manufacturing powerhouse – and with manufacturing driving our economic growth, Rhode Island was able to grow a healthy, prosperous middle class. Our state thrived, and so did our families.

But when the global economic climate changed, our state failed to adapt. Since then, we’ve relied on risky, poorly-planned gambles and insider deals. That approach has left us with the highest unemployment rate in the country, and a reputation as a state that is unfriendly to economic development.

But there is a lot to be hopeful about in Rhode Island. We have some of the greatest colleges and universities in the country; we’re a first-class tourist destination; and we have incredibly hard-working and entrepreneurial people.

Gina’s jobs plan takes a comprehensive approach to economic development and takes advantage of our state’s unique competitive edges.


Jobs in the manufacturing sector have a big impact on the economy: they pay higher wages than jobs in other industries and provide good benefits. They also have a powerful ripple effect across the economy: every new manufacturing job creates another 1.6 local service jobs, and each dollar in manufacturing sales adds another $1.34 to the local economy.

Manufacturing jobs are coming back to the United States for the first time in years. Since 2010, our country’s economy has added more than half a million new jobs in manufacturing, gaining an average of more than 12,000 new jobs per month.

As governor, Gina will:

  • Establish the Rhode Island Innovation Institute (RI II), a center dedicated to taking the good ideas coming out of our colleges and universities and turning them into products that we make right here in Rhode Island. Click here to watch a quick video on how it would work.
  • Use our state’s competitive advantages to become a leader in marine science, food technology and medical device manufacturing.
  • Create a “Manufacturers’ Toolkit” to help our existing manufacturer grow, expand product lines and gain exposure in new markets.


Rhode Island spends more on its roads and bridges per lane mile than almost any other state, yet we are consistently ranked among the worst in the country. 70 percent of Rhode Island roads are in poor or mediocre condition. And 411 of our state’s 757 bridges are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and they cost Rhode Island motorists an average of $476 per year in vehicle repairs.

Rebuilding Rhode Island’s roads and bridges will put people to work in the short term, while ensuring that we have the infrastructure we need to be competitive for years to come. As governor, Gina will:

  • Allow cities and towns to immediately upgrade their worst roads and bridges through low-interest loans in an expanded Municipal Road and Bridge Revolving Fund, a program she helped create as Treasurer.
  • Establish a Road and Bridge Funding Formula to pay for ongoing maintenance so that our local roads never become as deteriorated and dilapidated as they are now.
  • Establishing a stable, sustainable funding formula for RIPTA that is less reliant on a gas tax, a source of revenue that actually decreases as more Rhode Islanders choose to take the bus.

Workforce Development

Today’s jobs require 21st-century skills and a new level of technical competency. Employers are looking for critical thinking abilities; knowledge of science, engineering and technology; and computer proficiency. If we are going to position our state to succeed, our workforce development efforts need to reflect this reality.

As governor, Gina will:

  • Pair CCRI with local businesses to develop curriculum and training programs in skills that they need.
  • Expand internship and apprenticeship opportunities for CCRI students.
  • Create opportunities for our high school students who choose not to attend college by expanding career and technical training throughout the state.


Rhode Island is home to hundreds of miles of gorgeous coastline, dozens of beautiful beaches, renowned restaurants, breweries and vineyards, and countless museums and cultural attractions. Together, these industries support thousands of jobs and bring millions into our state. But our tourism industry has even more untapped potential.

By investing in a coordinated marketing effort, we can create more than 5,000 new jobs and generate millions in spending and tax revenue. As governor, Gina will:

  • Develop a highly-targeted, coordinated state-wide marketing and advertising campaign to expose Rhode Island to people around the world and across the country.
  • Make Rhode Island a world-class culinary destination by improving the branding of our state’s thriving food industry.
  • Improve our state’s tourism infrastructure, with new signage on highways, new visitors centers and efforts designed to move tourists to various attractions throughout the state.

Small Businesses and Startups

Small businesses are the backbone of our state. They represent over 95 percent of all employers in Rhode Island, and employ more than half of our state’s private sector workforce. Yet too often, our state makes it difficult to run a small business, or to start a new one. A recent study reported that half of Rhode Island’s small businesses spend more than $2,000 a year complying with regulations and a third of small businesses have to hire a consultant just to understand the regulations. Rhode Island needs to partner with its small businesses. That’s why, as governor, Gina will:

  • Review all of the state’s regulations within her first year of office, and eliminate overly burdensome or duplicative rules.
  • Create a Concierge Service to help small businesses navigate state and federal regulations, and connect them with the resources they’ll need to thrive.
  • Create a single, online source for all state and municipal permitting.

Click here to read Gina's comprehensive jobs plan.