The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), a nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has issued a new report called “Ready, Set, Go: How Business Should Support Early Childhood Education.” The report makes a compelling business case for why U.S. companies should invest in early childhood programs in their communities. Although the report is aimed at business leaders, it could be help education leaders make the case for why their communities should support early childhood programs. “Research shows that investments in high-quality early learning programs for children from birth to age five yield high returns, including increased earnings and decreased use of social services,” said Karen Elzey, vice president of ICW. “Achieving a world-class education system and creating a highly-skilled workforce begins with high-quality early learning opportunities.” Interventions early in life have a higher rate of return than later interventions, the report says. It cites research showing gains among participants of early childhood programs so significant that “they have resulted in positive outcomes through adulthood.” Specifically, participants in early childhood education were less likely to be involved in criminal activity or be arrested; less likely to rely on social services, such as welfare; less likely to have children out of wedlock; and more likely than nonparticipants to earn more, own a home, or own a second car. In fact, for every dollar invested in an early childhood program now, the savings range from $2.50 to as much as $17 in the years ahead, the report notes.

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Jeff Festa