Provided by Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William
Nearly one in five (19 percent) of area kindergarteners began school this year already behind, contrasted to the state average of 16 percent or one in six, that start their school careers already at a disadvantage. This challenge is one that needs addressing to support a vibrant local economy.
Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William and Dominion Energy have partnered to highlight the importance of high-quality early childhood care and learning in the education and workforce pipeline. That partnership will be on display at a breakfast briefing scheduled for Thursday, April 12 from 8:00 a. m. to 10:00 a. m. at Old Hickory Golf Course, 11921 Chanceford Dr., Woodbridge.
Lucy Davidson, Manager, Programs, U.S .Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce (CEW) is one of two featured speakers. Davidson will share CEW resources on a powerful two-generation approach to building the human capital that a prosperous and sustainable community requires. According to Davidson, “The changing nature of the workforce and shifting employee expectations provides the business community with a unique opportunity to lead the way in implementing family-friendly policies that support their employees and make economic sense for the business’ bottom line.”
Jack Gellen, Vice President, Lockheed Martin Undersea Systems, the second featured speaker, will address the need for a well-trained, qualified workforce. “The talent pool for our future workforce begins with young children,” says Gellen, “The seeds for desirable skills, including critical thinking, teamwork, and communication are planted before the age of five. The future depends on access to quality, early learning opportunities.”
Kendra Kielbasa, Executive Director, Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William, asserts that this briefing is for business leaders, parents, grandparents, community advocates, policy makers, and early childhood professionals. According to Kielbasa, “Business leaders are concerned about the growing skills gap. Technology related jobs account for more than half of the high-demand and growing positions, yet there is a shortage of qualified workers to fill those needs. Virginia Blueprint 2025 by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce makes specific recommendations to build a strong workforce through support of Early Childhood Education. It is also why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Education and Workforce has developed toolkits to help businesses take the needed steps. We are proud to have the Prince William Chamber of Commerce as our Workforce Development Partner.”
Sponsors for the Smart Beginnings for Tomorrow’s Workforce breakfast include Dominion Energy, Lakeshore Learning Materials, Apple Federal Credit Union, and Lockheed Martin. The Workforce Development Partner is the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are available by registering at http://bit.ly/2nZ0t8z.
Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William works to strengthen the system of organizations and individuals that care for and support the health and education of children from birth through age five. Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William is a program of SPARK, the Education Foundation for Prince William County Schools. For more information, contact Kendra Kielbasa at 703-909-0086 or [email protected].