Aaron Merchen speaking at the ECE Summit
On September 29 and 30, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2022 Early Childhood Education Summit in Denver, Colorado providing an opportunity for business leaders, providers, and early childhood advocates to discuss and analyze child care through a state-and-federal policy lens. Aaron Merchen (Education, US Chamber of Commerce & Director, Policy & Programs, Early Childhood Education, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation) who led the summit and worked with the state and regions toward identifying early childhood priorities and creating actions to address those priorities to policymakers discussed some key takeaways.
Two students sitting at a table facing a laptop
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At a time when we need to address STEM labor shortages, we cannot afford to leave segments of our population behind. The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports a strategy to address these issues through the newly funded Community College Presidents’ Initiative in STEM Education. Community colleges, serving the most diverse student body in higher education, are fertile ground for effective diversification of the STEM workforce. 51% of community college students taking college credit classes are students of color.
Renee reading to two children
© Panoramic Learning Academy
Phillip Hall, executive director of PLA, is committed to each child's learning development, with a particular focus on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, as well as social skills. Learn how Panoramic Learning Academy is making long-lasting impacts in the community.
Kerry Dixon, Asst. Principal, Center High School KC, tries out an electric nail gun at JE Dunn Construction to learn about skilled trades positions
© Missouri Chamber of Commerce

Coming from his background in higher education policy, Brian Crouse, vice president of education programs at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, is keenly aware of how critical it is to bridge the gap between what the education sector provides for students and what the business community needs from potential workers coming out of their pipeline. The Business Leads Fellowship offered him a new process and tools to communicate more effectively with these stakeholders.

Three people engaged in conversation following council meeting sessions
In response to growing childcare challenges across the nation, the U.S. Chamber Foundation partnered with the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to support the expansion of high-quality, affordable childcare in communities and states across the country by establishing the Early Childhood and Business Advisory Council.

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