Local News

Business leaders tout value of early education funding

Posted November 13, 2012 12:09 p.m. EST

— A group of North Carolina business leaders on Tuesday called on policy makers to better fund early childhood education, citing a new study that shows investing in early learning is key to economic growth.

Every dollar put into early care and education statewide nets $1.91 in new spending in sectors ranging from retail to transportation, according to the study released Tuesday by America’s Edge, a member organization of business leaders that advocates for programs that strengthen the future workforce.

The report, commissioned by America’s Edge, also said an additional $2.3 billion spent in North Carolina on quality early care and education would generate a return of $4.4 billion in new spending for businesses in the state.

“We’re here today to urge Gov.-elect (Pat) McCrory and our incoming state Legislature to carefully review the report prepared by America's Edge, evaluate the benefits of early childhood education and give a high priority to investments in early learning as they craft our state’s future,” said Harvey Schmitt, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. “We need their leadership.”

Speaking during a news conference at Happy Face Preschool in Raleigh, Schmitt also exhorted the federal delegation to boost funding for programs such as Head Start and Community Development Block Grants.

Schmitt was joined by Rick McNeel, president and chief executive officer of LORD Corp.; Tony Marshall, president and CEO of Innovative Systems Inc.; Brenda Berg, founder of Scandinavian Child; John Metcalf, senior associate of John P. Miller and Associates; Machelle Sanders, general manager and vice president of manufacturing for Biogen Inc.; and Susan Gates, national director of America’s Edge.

“Too many young people simply are not getting the training and education they need, and too many are dropping out of school,” Sanders said.“That’s costing our business, and that’s costing our economy.”

Schmitt said the organization released the report after Election Day because members wanted the message to come from the business community without a “political filter.”