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Early childhood education is recognized by social scientists as critical to economic self-sufficiency:

  • Quality child care is vital for parents to be able to work.
  • Quality early childhood education is key to success in school and in life.

But experts say early childhood education is just as critical to building a strong economy and a strong workforce.

“Investment in human capital breeds not only economic success for those being educated, but also for the overall economy,” - Art Rolnick with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

According to Rolnick, early childhood development is a much better economic development tool than other economic development schemes. “In the future, any proposed economic development … should have early childhood education at the top. The return on investment from early childhood development is extraordinary, resulting in better working public schools, more educated workers and less crime.” As Rolnick argues, now is the time to capitalize on this knowledge.


The ROI is Clear: Investing in Early Learning Pays Off

Nobel Laureate Economist James Heckman states programs targeting children from disadvantaged families have the greatest economic and social returns. The 40-year High/Scope Perry Preschool research makes the case that high-quality early learning experiences set children up for success in school, work and life. That research shows that investing $1 in a child’s success early on saves $17 down the road, with tangible results measured in lower crime, fewer single parents, and higher individual earnings and education levels. Over the long term, state and federal budgets for welfare and criminal justice systems are impacted as well.

Nobel Laureate Economist James Heckman Message to Business Leaders:

  1. The answer to global competitiveness, health care, education, crime and poverty lies in human capital development with the very young.
  2. Early nurturing and learning experiences from ages zero to five greatly impacts success or failure in society.
  3. Life cycle skill formation is dynamic in nature. Skill begets skill. Motivation begets motivation. In fact, early development of effective social skills greatly influences the successful development of IQ and ultimately personal and social productivity.
  4. Today’s challenges are real—record rates of high school drop outs, a lack of college graduates, increasing rates of obesity and chronic diseases, rising crime and a growing underclass. Prevention through early childhood development is more life and cost-effective than remediation. It’s time to invest in upstream solutions for future generations while we continue to address today’s problems.
  5. Investing in early childhood development build the human capital we need for economic success.
  6. Investments in children bring a higher rate of return than investments in low - skill adults.

Business Leaders Getting Behind the Issue

Business leaders from across the country, from all sectors and sizes of companies, are getting behind this issue. Formal and informal groups are forming to advocate for common-sense policies that help strengthen our economy for the long haul by investing in children. Our peers and policy makers are beginning to understand this issue in its proper context:

  • NOT an exercise in social engineering or feel-good sentimentality.
  • An investment in America’s future as important to our bottom line as infrastructure, energy or any other expense.

Join the chorus of engaged business leaders.

  • Jim Rohr, CEO of PNC Bank, leading $100 million PNC Grow Up Great.
  • George Kaiser, CEO of Kaiser-Francis Oil, major supporter of early care and education in Oklahoma.
  • Ed Basha, CEO of Basha’s Grocery Stores, led fight in Arizona for early childhood ballot initiative.
  • Massachusetts Strategies for Children campaign business leaders: Mara Aspinall, CEO of Genzyme Genetics; Ronald Sargeant, CEO of Staples; James Brett, CEO of The New England Council; Richard Lord, CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts.
  • CEOs of Federal Reserve Banks in Richmond, Cleveland and San Francisco made statements in support of early investments as economic development.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke – “high returns that early childhood programs can pay.”

What Can My Business Do to Support Great Start Livingston?

You can support the efforts of Great Start Livingston in a number of ways:

  • Invite us to your lunch room or board room to share our vision and our “Report to the Community” with you and your staff.
  • Join the Great Start Livingston Work Group and lend your expertise to our strategic planning efforts.
  • Donate funds or in kinds services to support early childhood system infrastructure and programming in Livingston County.

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