Last month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation completed the first half of of its multi-city roadshow, which brought together business leaders, policy makers, advocates and practitioners to discuss the critical role of high-quality early childhood education and care in advancing the workforce of today and tomorrow. Included at each stop was a discussion of the Foundation’s new report, “Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow,” which explains that, by laying the crucial groundwork for tomorrow’s workforce and promoting a strong workforce today, high-quality child care provides a powerful two-generation approach to building the human capital that a prosperous and sustainable America requires.
Among the messages that resonated throughout the tour was the fact that early childhood education is not only an education issue, but a workforce issue – and quality matters.
- In Baton Rouge, the foundation heard from Lane Grigsby, CEO of Cajun Industries, who noted that “child care is increasingly an issue that affects businesses on a day-to-day basis, and one where industry must lead the way in finding solutions.”
- In Austin, Shay Everitt and Mandi Kimball of Children at Risk highlighted challenges accessing affordable and high-quality care in Travis County. They stressed the importance of quality settings in preparing children for success both in school and beyond.
- And in Atlanta, the foundation heard from the retired chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Dennis Lockhart, on the high public return on investment that high-quality early education and care can yield when targeted to typically underserved, vulnerable children.
The bottom line is: no one sector can solve this challenge alone. Business, policymakers and the community must come together to find and cultivate creative solutions for the next generation.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hopes to continue the conversation next year as they add seven more states to their tour.
Read more on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce blog here.
Read the Chamber’s “Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow” report here.