On February 22, 2012, the Workforce Development Committee welcomed Steven Cahn of California Strategies, LLC to discuss Early Education Development and Transitional Kindergarten and how it can benefit the business community. Investing in early education has a positive impact on business and the economy for today and the future, as it increases competition and has a high return on investment.
Investment in early education is also critical to developing the future workforce. In the decades to come, California and Orange County will lead the high-tech, bio-tech and science industries. These industries rely on a workforce that is creative, driven and S.T.E.A.M.-oriented. These qualities begin in early education, as it develops children’s “soft skills,” such as cooperating, socializing and accepting new responsibilities. It also builds important pre-literacy and early math skills that foster a love for learning. Businesses are increasingly requiring employees excel in these skills.
Today, employees increasingly want to work in an environment where their children’s interests are valued. Employees who are assured that their children are in a safe, nurturing environment while at work are more likely to be less distracted and miss less work. Today’s employees also tend to choose where to live and work based on the quality of education provided for their children, and that education starts before kindergarten. Early education development is a major industry on its own as well, providing tens of thousands of jobs in communities across the state.
California is falling behind the nation and the world in developing the skills needing for an evolving workforce. The State is ranked 46th in the U.S. in student performance, and ranked 21st and 25th in science and math among 30 industrial nations. At these rates employers will continue to recruit talent from other states and countries. Not only will investment in early education increase the skill level of the future workforce, but it also has a return on investment of $7 for every dollar spent. It saves government spending on k-12 education, public assistance programs and the criminal justice system, as educated individuals are less likely to need this assistance. For more information contact Alicia Berhow, Director of Workforce and Community Development.