I applaud the House and Senate budget writers for holding the line on funding for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program in their proposed 2011-13 state budgets. Early learning is the foundation upon which success in school and the workforce is built.
Too many young people in Washington today lack the skills crucial to the success of Washington businesses. In fact, a new report from America’s Edge shows that, during the recession when 300,000 Washington residents were unemployed, more than 10,000 jobs went unfulfilled because Washington businesses could not find qualified applicants.
This comes at a high cost to businesses and the economy.
Washington companies have reported decreased productivity and reduced sales, with some firms even moving operations out of the state, all because of an inability to find skilled workers.
Unfilled jobs also translate into less contribution to the tax base and less consumer spending. This is a dire predicament for our state’s still struggling economy.
No immediate fix will eliminate the skills gap. But if we are going to create an infrastructure that will ensure a skilled future workforce, the first step is high-quality early learning.