Letters to Lawmakers | February 12, 2018

Illinois Business Execs: Invest in Workforce Quality by Investing in Kids

Business leaders from Rockford to Carbondale focus on state-budget priorities that can strengthen skills

Nearly 85 business leaders from finance, manufacturing, health care, and other sectors have written to the Governor and General Assembly with FY2019 budget recommendations for improving our workforce and economy. Their suggestions hinge on research-proven policies for bolstering children’s most fundamental skills.

“Solid technical skills are essential to a high-quality workforce,” states the Jan. 30 letter from these members of the ReadyNation network. “Yet non-technical abilities are increasingly important – and increasingly hard to find.”

Good communications and teamwork. Perseverance in tasks – all these are among the ‘social-emotional’ or ‘soft’ skills on which the success of individual employees, businesses, and our entire economy depend.

Research demonstrates that technical and non-technical skills all stand to gain from greater attention to such early childhood priorities as preschool, child care, and birth-to-3 programs, according to the letter. Career & Technical Education can build further on that foundation, it adds, contributing to a better-prepared workforce for the future.

ReadyNation members will continue to weigh-in with Illinois policymakers throughout the development of a new state budget agreement for the next fiscal year, which begins in July.


  1. Illinois*