This past week, Michael Douglas of the Akron Beacon Journal highlighted one of the ways Ohio’s next governor will need to “step up to the plate” for Ohio kids. Among many daunting tasks, the next governor will inherit the state’s goal that 65% of the workforce will have a college degree or post-secondary certification by 2025 in order to match the increasing demand for higher levels of attainment. Ohio cannot afford to fall behind and the incoming governor will have to decide how to strategically invest in the state’s human capital to ensure that all Ohioans can continue to thrive. There is no easy fix to this problem, but thorough research over the past several decades offers one investment that can produce the outcomes Ohio desperately needs: high-quality early childhood experiences.
As Groundwork’s own Executive Director Shannon Jones testified at last month’s Senate Education Committee hearing, early childhood education plays a crucial role in ensuring that Ohio’s kids have the proper foundation to succeed later in life. The current skills gap experienced by kids in both urban and rural communities prevents our most at-risk kids from reaching levels of attainment that will be most beneficial to them, and to the state as a whole. The foundation for skill development is established in the earliest years with 90% of brain development occurring between birth and age five.
Not only do investments in early childhood align appropriately with brain science, human development, and working family needs, but this alignment provides the best returns on public investment. High-quality birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children can deliver a 13% per year return on investment.
As Ohio’s next governor strategically plans to meet Ohio’s 2025 attainment goal, it is essential that early childhood investments play a crucial role in meeting the needs of working families in Ohio and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the state’s workforce.
Click here to learn more about Ohio’s 2025 Attainment Goal.
From the Groundwork family to yours, we wish you a very happy President's Day weekend! This weekend, we will be remembering our nation's long history of leaders who have fought to make our country a better place--especially for our youngest citizens.