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Why did three Georgia companies merit placement on Fortune magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For?  Because they support child care for their employees, including summer camps in some cases.  AFLAC, Alston & Bird, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta joined number one ranked SAS, Inc. in North Carolina in offering on-site or accessible quality child care as part of the employment package.  Other child and family-friendly benefits were also detailed in the article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Jan. 21.

If Georgia wants to be seen as a great place to work, ensuring access to quality childcare for families in our workforce is a good place to start.  During the hard economic times of the last two years, Georgia had the benefit of $47 million in federal stimulus funds to eliminate the waiting list for child care subsidies and to help 600 child care centers improve the quality of their programs.  With the loss of those stimulus funds, 10,000 families will be without access to quality care for their kids. 

What will happen?  to the children? to the employees? to employers?  We are likely to see more latchkey kids, more employee absenteeism and lower productivity.  Solutions?  Public/private partnerships, tax credits for employers, child care tax credits for families, and expanding Georgia PreK .

Maybe we can’t do everything at once but let’s start planning for the future.  The greatest innovations and the most effective solutions are born out of hard times.  Let’s seize the opportunity!

Pat Willis, Executive Director

Voices for Georgia’s Children

Why should Georgia invest in very young children, from birth to kindergarten?  At Voices’ 6th Annual Legislative Breakfast today we heard two strong and equally compelling reasons.  Because it’s good for the economy and it is certainly good for children.

Phil Peterson, Senior VP for Aon Consulting, made the business argument:  Our workforce is both shrinking and losing its competitiveness and early childhood development is essential to getting more kids through high school and college.  Dr. Beverly Tatum, president of Spelman College and co-chair of United Way’s Early Education Commission, centered her call to action on the faces of young people, both those who are thriving and those who are barely surviving, reminding us of the real opportunities to intervene early to help families and children.

I will update this blog with copies of Mr. Peterson’s slides in the next few days.  Meanwhile, some important links were suggested to reiterate the need for investment and advocacy for young children.  Mr. Peterson co-chairs PA’s Early Education Investment Commission and is on the advisory board to Partnership for America’s Economic Success.  He also partners with Mission: Readiness in its commitment to a more prepared military.  And don’t forget Voices’ blog which has featured a number of posts on early childhood and PreK.

Pat

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