On Oct. 5, 2017, thread came together with business leaders, early childhood partners, policy makers, medical professionals, and community members for Investing in Alaska’s Workforce: A Summit on the Economic Impact of Early Care & Learning. The event drew 178 attendees from across Alaska for a conversation about how high-quality early care and learning impacts our economy and creates a strong and reliable workforce both now and in the future.
thread held its first economic summit in 2015, and after a lot of positive feedback, decided to host it again in 2017 – this time with new speakers, panelists, and resources.
During the breakfast keynote, Dr. Kyle Yasuda spoke about how adverse childhood experiences (ACES) increase the risk for health problems and addiction in adulthood, leading to absenteeism and poor workforce retention. However, high-quality early childhood experiences can help children rise above roadblocks as they grow to achieve higher education, employment, and better health.
During the lunch keynote, attendees heard from Randy Laszewski, an Audit Partner in KPMG’s National Professional Practice Group in New York, how businesses benefit from investments in early childhood. KMPG reported increased employee morale after initiating a literacy program where employees give away books and read to children in the classroom.
Later in the afternoon, ReadyNation Deputy Director Nancy Fishman presented the findings of the ReadyNation Report Social-Emotional Skills in Early Childhood Support Workforce Success. Attendees learned how the character skills developed in early childhood become the soft skills that are in such high demand in today’s workforce.
The Summit’s panel discussion also highlighted initiatives around the state to support and expand high-quality early care and learning opportunities. At the end of the day, attendees left with new ideas on how we can better invest in our children to create a brighter future for Alaska.
If you missed out on this eye-opening event, the presentations and resources from the summit are available here. Be sure to join us in 2019 for the next economic summit!