Giving to Quality Early Care and Education

thread works with and supports thousands of Alaska’s families and early educators by providing resources like teaching materials and books, family friendly events and high quality training for early educators. We invite you to join us in supporting quality early care and education for Alaska’s children.

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Employers

Why Quality Early Care & Learning Matters to Business

In Alaska, early care & learning is connected to healthy families and communities. The first connection is through a workforce of 7,700 early educators working with Alaska children and families statewide. The second is supporting working families: the availability of affordable, high-quality early care and learning services allows parents to remain in the workforce as well as helps employers retain employees. The Economics of Early Care & Learning in Alaska 2015 Report Summary estimates 15 percent of Alaska’s resident workforce uses child care.

In order to thrive, businesses in Alaska need a strong competitive workforce. High quality early care and education programs help support the current Alaska workforce while investing in workforce of tomorrow. Research has shown that businesses that help their employees find high quality early care and education programs benefit from improved recruitment, increased employee productivity, fewer absences, improved employee/employer relations, higher retention rates, and better community relations.

In Alaska the “Brain Drain” is a real challenge for many employers. As high quality early care and education programs are hard to find, many young families are choosing to move to more family friendly communities in the lower 48 or are leaving the workforce altogether. This can be a challenge for many employers who are constantly looking for a highly skilled workforce. On the other hand, many parents who choose to work are unable to focus at work because they are continually dealing with child care breakdowns due to a lack of quality options. Research shows that higher quality early care and education programs can result in increased productivity for parents as their program is more reliable.

High-quality early care & learning programs not only enable many parents to remain in the workforce, it provides a good return on investment!  The Global economy is real and many jobs are being outsourced to less expensive, more highly qualified workforces in other countries. Studies have shown the vast achievement gap that occurs between children who receive high quality early care and education services and those who don’t. The Perry Preschool Study, a 40 year longitudinal study that followed 123 children from Michigan found that kids who received high quality early childhood education were less likely to drop out of school, to go to jail, or need special education services. Furthermore, they were more likely to attend college and they had better paying jobs and after 40 years. Tax payers saved $17 on every dollar that was invested into early care and education services for those kids.

What Can the Business Community Do to Take Action?

*1. Support a mixed provider delivery system. Whether early childhood programs are
delivered by public, private, or nonprofit providers, communities should ensure that
quality programs are available and convenient for the families who need them.

2. Encourage early learning system and K–12 alignment. Too often, children are
in programs that do not adequately prepare them for success in kindergarten.
Encouraging better alignment between early learning programs and
kindergarten will help children learn to the best of their ability.

3. Promote early learning policies as part of the economic development agenda.
Several studies have shown the return on investment that early learning
programs can bring to communities. From the number of people employed to
the supports provided to working parents to the long-term benefits for children
who attend high-quality programs, early learning policies should be considered
with the economic development plans.

4. Encourage the inclusion of early childhood data in the statewide longitudinal
data system
. As a nation, we need more information about which programs work,
who benefits, and where we need new and better solutions. Tying early childhood
data to statewide longitudinal data systems will help provide the information that
policymakers and parents need.

5. Encourage your state to adopt a Quality Rating Information System (QRIS).
Many states have worked to implement QRIS to distinguish between high-quality
programs and programs that need improvement. Rating systems are one way to
achieve transparency and accountability so that parents and policymakers know
which programs meet quality standards.

6. Encourage business organizations and networks to adopt a policy position
in support of public investments for effective, high quality early education
programs
. Many chambers have included such a statement in their public policy
agenda. Ensure that your chamber, as well as other business networks such as
Rotary, Kiwanis, and others, adopts this priority and follow up with policy makers.

Click here for a printable version of this list.

*Insitute for a Competitive Workforce & the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

thread partners with Alaska business by:

  • Consulting with businesses, nonprofits, or governmental agencies around ways to provide child care support for their employees.
  • Conducting lunchtime presentations or brown bags to assist businesses on finding quality child care, parenting skills, or balancing work-family life.
  • Supporting family-friendly workplace awards and recognition programs highlighting
    businesses with the best family friendly policies in Alaska.
  • Providing employers research and statistics related to the early care and learning profession.

 


Downloads


(54 KB)
AECAG 2017 Fiscal Plan Resolution 2017


(167 KB)
Family Friendly Workplace
A checklist to help create a family friendly workplace


(267 KB)
Cafeteria Plan
Also known as a dependent care plan


(576 KB)
Service Options
Service options to create a family friendly workplace


(2057 KB)
ReadyNation: Business Case for Early Childhood Investments
A document from ReadyNation


(2198 KB)
The Economic of Early Care & Learning in Alaska - Report Summary


(3388 KB)
2015 Statewide Early Care and Learning Economic Impact Report

NOTE: Many of the documents are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing. Acrobat Reader software may be downloaded for free from Adobe Systems, Inc.