Pre-K and Early Investments Give a Great Start to ReadyNation Business Leader
The pre-K programs I attended allowed my parents to go to work knowing that both my sister and I were taken care of. I have no doubt that the structure and supportive environment of my pre-K and other early childhood programs contributed significantly to the adult I am today. Effective early childhood programs provide safety, structure, nutrition, and developmental growth.
Kenneth Farley Jr.
Mr. Kenneth “Kenny” Farley Jr. grew up with divorced, low-income, loving, high school-educated, working-class parents who struggled to find quality care and education for him and his sister in the early years of their lives. Though his father served in the military, and both parents were present throughout his formative years, Kenny remembers the steep challenges his family faced to make ends meet and to advance economically. Now a rising leader in the defense sector, Kenneth has become an outspoken advocate for early childhood education. His parents secured affordable, quality early childhood education when it counted for their family, in part, because they had access to these programs in California where Kenny and his siblings grew up.
As a youth, affordable after school programs made it possible for Kenny to discover his passion for business and his love of sports. As a former Pac-12 Oregon State University football player, and current specialist in the defense sector, Kenny’s success provides him with a growing platform to advocate for our nation’s workforce and its children, along with other ReadyNation members and Council for a Strong America partners.
One of the most distressing aspects of the pandemic, Kenneth notes, is that it has forced the closure of many preschool and child care providers across the country, leaving scores of families upended in their struggle to survive financially. He worries that too many parents, especially those with infants and toddlers, no longer have access to the safe, reliable child care they depend on to go to work and make ends meet. Kenny knows that affordable, quality child care programs made the difference for his parents, and that those programs can make the difference for Kenny’s home of Oregon, too. Oregon’s expansion of these types of programs is critical, especially in the wake of COVID-19. Expansion of programs like Multnomah County’s “Preschool for All” initiative is a good start, but there is more work to be done. Kenny stands with ReadyNation and the rest of Council for America in speaking up for early childhood programs, including quality child care, because, like us, he knows that one of the best ways to continue to build a strong nation is for our lawmakers to prioritize kids. For a start, that means: adding more statewide pre-K slots, recruiting talented early educators, and expanding half-day programs to full-day in order to cover parents’ working hours.
Thank you for all that you do for Oregon’s children and our nation’s future, Kenny. Leaders like you are at the heart of a truly ReadyNation. The measures you’re fighting for will require strong, bipartisan collaboration—but they will help ensure a secure future for your state, for the economy, and for America.