PRESS RELEASE: Montana Business Leaders Brief Sen. Baucus on Economic Benefits of Early Learning
For Immediate Release: October 23, 2012
Media Contact: David Curry
Cell: (406) 723-8067; Desk: (406) 558-4732
Montana Business Leaders Brief Sen. Baucus on Economic Benefits of Early Learning
Group releases report showing how investments
in quality early care and education can boost Main Street businesses
KALISPELL, MT – Five Montana business leaders met with Sen. Max Baucus at a Kalispell early learning center today to present a report showing that investments in high-quality early care and education provide a surprisingly big boost to local businesses that can better prepare the state’s workforce of the future.
Participating in a report release for the Senator and media at the Discovery Developmental Center were Sharon Palmer, Lambros Real Estate; Glen Wheeler, Liberty Mutual (Ret.); Richard Goacher, Goacher and Associates; Dan Dickman, Community Health Nurse, Flathead County; Mark Munsinger, Munsinger, LLC, Professional Engineer, Collette Box, Director of the Discovery Developmental Center, and Dave Curry, Montana State Director of America’s Edge, a nonprofit, non-partisan business leaders organization.
The business leaders cited an America’s Edge report that found investments in early care and education generate immediate sales of local goods and services, thus creating jobs and aiding in long-term economic security.
“Our education system needs to produce more academically successful graduates, because that’s what businesses need,” said Wheeler. “And this is precisely what early care and education can do for Montana’s students.”
According to the report, for every $1 invested in early care and education in Montana, a total of $1.61 is generated in spending in the state, as compared to transportation ($1.52), construction ($1.49), wholesale trade ($1.49), retail trade ($1.42) and manufacturing ($1.39).
“Investments in quality early care and education are a boost for Montana communities,” said Palmer, adding that the sector employs more than 3,600 people in Montana. They create an infusion of dollars that will benefit businesses, and they create jobs.
Also included in the report is research documenting the long-term economic impact of quality early learning programs. According to the report, the global marketplace will require businesses to seek employees with advanced hard skills in math, reading and writing as well as the increasingly important “soft” skills like communication, collaboration and critical thinking. Experts believe that, by 2018, demand for students in the U.S. with an associate’s degree or higher will exceed supply by 3 million workers.
The study cites research showing children who participate in quality early learning programs perform better in math and reading; develop better social and emotional skills, have higher graduation rates; enter the workforce with higher skill levels; and earn more as adults.
The business leaders applauded Senator Baucus and Montana’s Congressional delegation for being supportive of high quality early learning – especially in such a tough budget climate.
They urged the delegation to protect and prioritize federal early learning programs like Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant.
“With limited funds available to help get our economy back on track, few investments do as much for our kids’ future and for businesses’ balance sheets as funding for early learning programs,” said Dickman. “They simply make economic sense, and that’s why we’re here.”