Bangor Daily News Op-Ed argues for better early childhood education
A “skills gap”? Here in Maine, it is very real. We and other Maine businesspeople see it every day.
PORTLAND, Maine — Education is an integral aspect of workforce development in the state, but often the conversation tackles the roles of K-12 and higher education and misses a key component: early childhood education.” The Maine Early Learning Investment Group is very pleased that this report supports their work.
“At first impression, the two groups of children were hard to tell apart: just regular kindergarten kids from different neighbourhoods in Kamloops, B.C. Yet, when they came to Clyde Hertzman’s mobile lab to participate in a province-wide population study five years ago, their young brains revealed a striking contrast.”
Please read this story from our neighbors in Canada. For many years we have known this is a national movement but clearly the importance of early childhood brain development goes beyond our borders…
On January 24, 2013, America’s Edge (AE) members Dana Connors, Bob Moore and Meredith Strang Burgess participated in a Portland press conference, releasing AE’s newest report, “Boosting Maine’s Economy: Short- and Long-Term Economic Gains through Quality Early Learning.” Meredith, Bob and Dana, along with AE National Director Susan Gates helped release this important report. “Supporting quality early learning programs throughout Maine is not just good for our kids, it is good for our businesses,” said Meredith Strang Burgess. “In fact, every dollar invested in early care and education in Maine generates a total of $1.78 in economic activity in our state in the form of sales of local goods and services. That helps Maine in the short-term. In the long-term, the return on investment from high-quality early education is one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
According to the recent report from America’s Edge, Maine businesses are experiencing a very real “skills gap.” A recent analysis projects 26,000 new high-wage and growth jobs in Maine over 10 years, but significant skills gaps are forecast because of the state’s mismatch between worker skills and labor demand. This will result in a shortage of over 1,500 associate’s degree workers in information and computer technology; over 1,000 unfilled machinists positions; and 4,000 high-wage jobs going unfilled over the next 10 years.
Robert (Bob) Moore, CEO of Dead River Company and Dana Connors, President of the Maine Chamber of Commerce read to children at the Opportunity Alliance Head Start Center in Portland, Maine following the release of the America’s Edge report, “Boosting Maine’s Economy Short- and Long-Term Economic Gains through Quality Early Learning.”