In the face of an increasingly competitive global economy building a highly skilled workforce is more important than ever. American business depends on a strong workforce, now and in the future, to complete and succeed globally. Yet America is facing a challenge that threatens the productivity and strength of the workforce of today—as well as the workforce of tomorrow. America is facing a growing skills gap. And while this challenge manifests in the workforce, it has roots in the classroom. In response to this challenge, there is a need to rethink the entire education pipeline—starting at birth.
A world class education system is critical to a work class workforce, but our education system is falling short in preparing students to succeed. Business leaders have long understood the importance of a well-educated workforce to support a strong economy, keep America competitive globally, and ensure a vibrant democracy. These same leaders, through their leadership, have played a tremendous role in strengthening the education pipeline so crucial to economic growth and prosperity. What is less discussed is the underestimated, and as such historically under-supported, phase of education and human development: early childhood education, years 0-8.
In today's economy, an unprecedented number of young children are in paid childcare for a substantial portion of their early years. And while childcare is a necessary support for the workforce of today (working parents), it also has a critical impact on children (the workforce of tomorrow) during the most consequential phase of human development.
We at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation believe that for American business, advancing high-quality childcare is a winning proposition. It's a wise investment in America's future, strengthening business today while building the workforce we'll depend on tomorrow and for decades to come. Our goal is to educate and encourage business to make this wise investment.