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, along with rigorous standards, assessments, and accountability systems to ensure that students are college and career ready. 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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