Investing in Our Youngest Children
In 2013, America’s Edge is focusing on proven programs with the highest returns on investment for businesses – programs that target children from the age of birth to five, and programs that help high school students develop the skills to succeed in both career and post-secondary education. The foundation for social and fundamental education skills is developed during a child’s earliest years. Ensuring high-quality early care and education programs for all children in America is critical to sustaining and strengthening businesses, the economy, and communities.
“High-quality early education helps cultivate the skills our future workforce needs by giving young children a solid foundation in critical early social skills and academic skills necessary for success in the future workplace.” -Julia Christian, Executive Director, CHAMPS (Capital Hill’s Chamber of Commerce), Washington, D.C.
Employers need to hire people who have the hard skills – reading, writing and math – and the soft skills – communication, collaboration and critical thinking. Research confirms the most important factor in developing these skills is quality early care and education programs – and the earlier we start, the better the outcomes.
Children who participate in these programs can:
- Increase pre-math skills by as much as 21%;
- Increase pre-reading skills by as much as 52% – 74% for low-income children;
- Cut special education placements by as much as 43% ;
- Increase graduation rates by as much as 44%; and
- Increase median earnings by as much as 36%.
Investing in High School Students
In 2013, America’s Edge is focusing on innovative education models that integrate career relevance training with a rigorous academic curriculum. Strong evidence demonstrates that models, such as “Career Academies,” have a positive earnings impact for youth, and helps develop the skills employers need them to have to compete in a global economy. These schools:
- Integrate rigorous academics and career relevance instruction
- Provide internships and real work experience for youth so they learn what is expected in the workplace;
- Teach through project-based learning to build collaboration skills;
- Incorporate significant oral and written communication components- both individuals and as teams; and
- Serve youth from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.
Promising results from these programs also indicate that they increase skill levels, graduation rates, and enrollment in post-secondary education and training.
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