As a business leader, I understand the immeasurable impact of a capable and skilled workforce on Maine’s future prosperity. I also understand that, to achieve the quality workforce we seek, we must develop strategies that will positively impact lives during the key developmental period of early childhood.

Just like building a house or a business, we need to start with a solid foundation. It’s the same with a young child’s brain, where the building blocks for all later skill development are created in the first few years of life. The strength of this foundation impacts a person’s social, emotional, cognitive and health outcomes for the remainder of life.

As your Jan. 9 editorial stated, quality child care must be a key component of Maine’s workforce development infrastructure. Not only does high-quality child care provide a safe and nurturing environment for children of working parents, but there is broad agreement among researchers that high-quality early learning gives children a powerful start on the path that leads to post-secondary education and career success.

It is time we make a serious commitment to increasing access to quality early care and education, from birth through public school entry. To do that, we should support state policies like L.D. 1760, First4ME – which expands and strengthens a multi-generational approach to quality early care and education in Maine. Supporting high-quality early care and education in this way will help ensure social, emotional and cognitive success for all children, which will, in turn, build Maine’s future workforce.

Jim Clair

China Village

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