Business Officials ask Illinois Leaders: Invest Further in Young Children’s Care & Education
Sharpening workforce skills, improving business productivity are the goals of state capitol conversations
(Pictured above: Jessica Linder Gallo, President of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce; Janet Mathis, Principal of The Development Consortium in Geneseo; Keith Krutz, President of IMS-Buhrke Olson manufacturing in Arlington Heights; Jason Powell, Director of Business Development for the WLC Management Firm in Harrisburg.)
ReadyNation Illinois’ second Day at the Capitol event drew business execs to the statehouse for visits with leaders of all four legislative caucuses as well as two-dozen other lawmakers - all with the aim of boosting the well-being of kids and our economy.
“Only one out of four Illinois kindergarteners is starting school fully prepared for success,” Jason Powell told Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, citing Illinois State Board of Education statistics. Too many of those youngsters could also go on to enter the workforce similarly unprepared, added Powell, who is Director of Business Development for the WLC Management Firm in Harrisburg.
Only one out of four Illinois kindergarteners is starting school fully prepared for success.
Jason Powell, Director, Business Development, WLC Management
This is why it’s critical to lay a strong foundation of skill-building in children from their earliest years of learning and life, the ReadyNation members shared. For the state’s FY2021 budget, that means boosting Illinois’ investments in research-proven early childhood initiatives: preK and birth-to-3 services, child care assistance for working families, and Early Intervention help for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities.
In addition to Powell, participants in the March 4 Day at the Capitol event included Jessica Linder Gallo, President of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce; Janet Mathis, Principal of The Development Consortium in Geneseo; and Keith Krutz, President of IMS-Buhrke Olson manufacturing in Arlington Heights.
These business leaders met with not only Leader Brady, but Senate President Don Harmon, House Majority Leader Greg Harris, and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin. ReadyNation members similarly caught-up with 24 other, rank-and-file lawmakers, sharing both personal and professional perspectives on the significance of early learning efforts.
As a result of such discussions, several of these legislators joined the co-sponsorship of HB5001 and SB3700, legislation to ensure that more low-income, Illinois college students are provided information about child care assistance and their potential eligibility for such help.
ReadyNation members explained that nearly 100,000 of the state’s college students are also parents, juggling the challenges of raising kids and attending school (and often working, as well). Helping more of these students to find child care help could also aid in their school persistence, and pursuit of diplomas.