Blog | January 22, 2020

Maine Senate President Announces New Bill for Community-Based Early Learning and Care

ReadyNation member Jim Clair speaks in support of high-quality child care

On January 17, Maine Senate President Troy Jackson announced a new bill that aims to increase access to quality child care for the families who need it most across the state. ReadyNation Maine member Jim Clair, CEO of the Clair Group of Companies, joined Senate President Jackson, a parent, a provider, and the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in SAD 54 who also spoke at the event. Everyone present agreed that Maine still has a long way to go in providing access to quality care for families who want and need it, which is why this bill is an exciting step forward.

Access to high-quality child care is an economic imperative.

ReadyNation member Jim Clair, CEO of Clair Group of Companies

First4ME is a public-private partnership model for early care and education and workforce development that includes children, families, and early educators so that Maine’s communities and economy benefit now and into the future. The bill would also establish up to ten pilot projects, supported by coalitions of relevant stakeholders in communities throughout the state. These projects aim to coordinate a variety of services that new and working parents may need among child care educators, health care providers, and business leaders to create an integrated support system.

ReadyNation Maine member Jim Clair speaks at a press conference where the Senate President announced a new bill that he says will increase access to quality child care for Maine's most vulnerable families

Maine’s business leaders are keeping an eye on the needs of many of the state’s industries for a skilled workforce. They know that to achieve that quality workforce, we must develop strategies and support programs that will positively impact lives during the key early childhood developmental period. With high-quality care for their children during the workday, today’s employees are likely to miss fewer days of work and be more productive while at work. At the same time, opportunities for early learning and brain development help to prepare tomorrow’s workforce for success.

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