February 28th, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Quality Early Learning Programs Provide Big Boost to New York Businesses, Report Shows

For Immediate Release: February 29, 2012

Media Contact: Matthew McMullan

Cell: 703-403-9762; Desk: 202-464-5358

E-Mail: mmcmullan@americasedge.org


Quality Early Learning Programs Provide Big Boost to New York Businesses, Report Shows

Business leaders gather at early learning center to discuss maximizing economic benefits by incorporating high-quality components in early learning programs


ALBANY, NY – Four prominent New York business leaders released a report today showing that investments in high-quality early care and education provide a surprisingly big boost to local businesses in New York as the state continues its recovery from the economic recession.

Participating in the news conference at Club Fed Child Care Center were Dick Frederick, Director of the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Sandy Cohn, President and CTO of ITAC Advantage; John Cavalier, CEO (retired) of MapInfo, Inc.; David Rooney, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business at the Center for Economic Growth; and Lori King-Kocsis, Director of America’s Edge New York, a nonprofit business leaders organization.

The business leaders cited an America’s Edge report that found investments in quality early care and education are generating immediate sales of local goods and services, creating jobs and aiding in long-term economic security. The report also shows that the key to achieving such robust economic outcomes is the quality of the programs.

“Supporting quality early learning programs in New York isn’t just good for our kids, it’s good for business,” said Cavalier. The report shows early care and education programs employ more than 100,000 people across the state and each year generate $4.7 billion in economic activity in the form of sales of local goods and services in New York.

According to the report, for every $1 invested in early care and education in New York, a total of $1.86 is generated in spending in the state, as compared to retail trade ($1.83), manufacturing ($1.72) and transportation ($1.72).

“We must build an infrastructure that will ensure we’ve got a supply of skilled workers for the future,” said Frederick. “And the foundation of that infrastructure is quality early learning.”

The report also documents the long-term economic impact of quality early learning programs. According to the study, the global marketplace will require employees with advanced hard skills in math, reading and writing as well as the increasingly important “soft” skills such as communication, collaboration and critical thinking. Experts believe that, by 2018, 63 percent of all jobs in New York will require postsecondary education.  But, as the America’s Edge report notes, only 37 percent of New York public school students graduate “college and career ready.”

“As the region’s economy continues to improve and business interest in New York accelerates under the Governor’s leadership, we must focus on delivering an educated, highly skilled workforce,” said Rooney. “High-quality early care and education is an important part of that sustained effort.”

The study cites research showing children who participate in quality early learning programs perform better in math and reading; develop the social and emotional skills that transform into the soft communication skills; have higher graduation rates; enter the workforce with higher skill levels; and earn more as adults. But these results are most pronounced in programs that share quality components.

“It’s the quality components of early learning programs that help drive the economic boost to our state,” said Cohn. “And they’ll be measured for working parents through the implementation of QUALITYstarsNY,” he said, referring to a new quality rating and improvement system that would set uniform standards for early learning settings across the state.

When asked to comment, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said:

“QUALITYstarsNY goes a long way towards ensuring that children throughout the state have access to high-quality early childhood education. QUALITYstarsNY will not only help programs throughout the state to improve, it will also assist parents in choosing a quality program for their child.”

State Senator Diane Savino also commented:

“As we look for innovative ways to boost the economy, funding for early education makes sense for both our short and long term goals. Children need to have a good start at school, especially children at risk.  It’s proven that early learning and development is the foundation for a successful education.”

The group called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature to maintain New York’s current funding commitment of $384.3 million to support Pre-K services for nearly 99,000 four-year-olds across the New York; and, from the governor’s proposed $250 million in competitive education grants, designate $53 million for Universal Pre-K, increasing access for thousands more children, better preparing teachers, and providing the technical support necessary to ensure sustainable quality.

They also urged state legislators to increase funds for the effective implementation of QUALITYstarsNY in Year 1, noting that $20 million will ultimately be needed for the initial implementation efforts.

“We must protect programs that give back to our economy and will continue to give back in the long run,” said Cavalier. “It just makes good business sense.”