Report | May 7, 2015

How Early Childhood Education Grows the Workforce

California’s preschools are essential for future workforce development to avoid a serious skills gap

High-quality pre-kindergarten can deliver very strong results, improving children’s math and literacy skills well into elementary school and increasing high school graduation rates. ReadyNation’s California business leaders are calling on state policymakers to continue to improve pre-K quality and expand access to more children. This is a solid investment in our state’s future.

Our members’ experience in business demonstrates that we need a skilled workforce in order to prosper. California also must have a business plan that incorporates the latest research, industry standards and best practices. Another key factor in running a successful business is continuous quality improvement—ongoing, careful monitoring of how things are going and the wisdom and courage to make any needed adjustments. In short, investments in quality are essential for success in business.

Early learning programs improve the productivity of our companies. Access to these programs reduces absenteeism and turnover, and increases productivity and retention.

Darius Assemi, President, Granville Homes

So it is with early childhood education: California needs a skilled teaching workforce, research-based programs, high standards, best practices, and continuous quality improvement. Such investments in quality pre-kindergarten can yield strong short- and long-term results. In the short term, on average, for every $1 invested in early care and education, an additional $1 is generated into the overall economy, for a total of $2 in new spending.

There are also longer-term gains: a well-respected, independent cost-benefit analysis of more than 20 different studies of high-quality state and local preschool programs showed that they can have, on average, a net return of more than $26,000 in current dollars for every child served. Given these benefits, extending access to PreK to 31,500 four-year-olds through the 2014-15 Budget Act would save California close to $820 million per year.


  1. California