Ohio: High-Quality Pre-K Will Strengthen STEM Workforce
Ohio business and military leaders warn of STEM workforce skills gap and urge greater access to quality pre-K
Businesses and the military both increasingly need a workforce with strong skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). In a joint report from ReadyNation and Mission: Readiness, entitled STEM and Early Childhood: When Skills Take Root, Ohio business and military leaders warn of a looming STEM workforce skills gap. The solution? Greater access to high-quality pre-K.
This report cites research that developing STEM proficiency starts in the early years. Disadvantaged children can already be 18 months behind their peers on math and reading skills when they begin kindergarten. But this early achievement gap can be prevented through greater access to pre-K. High-quality early education teaches young children real math and science through enjoyable, age-appropriate, play-based activities. Research has shown that early math proficiency can predict students’ later abilities in math and reading.
The young people we will seek to recruit for the military, postsecondary education, and private sector jobs in less than 15 years should be entering pre-K today. A greater investment in high-quality pre-K will have lasting impact for our children, for Ohio, and for our nation.
Major General (Ret.) Deborah Ashenhurst, former Adjutant General, Ohio National Guard