Last week, we introduced the importance of high-quality early childhood education and care.
All kids deserve access to a high-quality education and care. But sometimes that access is different depending on what neighborhood a child is from or on their household income. For kids under the age of five, not having that access could mean falling behind their classmates for the rest of their academic careers, leading to missed opportunities beyond high school and in the job market. When children receive quality early education, they are better prepared for individual success and stability in grade school, high school, higher education, the job market and their adult lives.
Early childhood education doesn’t just matter on an individual level – it matters on a large-scale economic level, too.
When we invest in a child’s early education, we invest in their career success later in life. And when our local workforce is supported, strong and healthy, our economy thrives. And additionally, strong and accessible early childcare options support the current workforce, especially in households where all parents work. You can investigate this issue on a national level via the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s recent study, which found that “a world-class workforce begins with a world-class education system.”
The economic argument for quality early childhood education applies to our local community.
United Way of Greater Chattanooga President and CEO, Lesley Scearce, sits on the Board of Directors for Tennesseans for Quality Early Education (or TQEE) – a “bipartisan coalition of Tennesseans fighting to ensure our children get the quality early education they need to power our state’s future.” TQEE recently conducted a survey linking economic recovery from COVID-19 and the childcare crisis.
Their study is full of information. We want you to dive in – we need you to advocate for access to affordable and high-quality early education for all members of our community alongside us. But first, we need to make sure we all understand the depth of the issue and its implications. You can read through TQEE’s findings at length here. We’ll also summarize them here.
TQEE’s 5 Key Findings: Economic Recovery and the Childcare Crisis
- Employers Struggle When Employees Can’t Access Child Care
- “Nearly 40% of employers reported that employees quit or reduced their hours due to difficulty accessing child care.”
- Employers Recognize the Link Between Child Care and Employee Productivity
- “Nearly 85% of employers agree that the availability of affordable, quality child care is important to the productivity of their workforce.”
- Employers also Recognize Quality Child Care as a Pathway to Future Education Success
- “Nearly 87% of Tennessee employers agree child care quality has a major impact on a child’s kindergarten readiness.”
- Employer Benefits Can Help Employees Manage Child Care Needs
- “Nearly a quarter of all employers said they would consider offering child care financial assistance if employees expressed interest.”
- Public-Private Partnership Opportunity to Support Working Parents Access to Child Care
- “Nearly half of employers (48%) said that they would offer new or enhanced child care assistance to employees if a tax credit to help do so were available.”
Keep engaging with this important work. Take the time to educate yourself on this issue – it’s one of the most pressing and widespread ones our community faces. Read the rest of TQEE’s study here.