EDITOR’S NOTE: We have reprinted a Letter to the Editor from Megan Diver, senior government relations specialist for the Maine State Chamber and a member of ReadyNation, from Sunday, January 26 for your review and consideration. It also appears online at www.centralmaine.com/2020/01/26/bill-addresses-maines-child-care-crisis.
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce is pleased to read that Economic and Community Development Commissioner Heather Johnson and Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s executive director Kim Lindlof identify Maine’s child care crisis as a barrier to workforce development. Lack of high-quality child care is a challenge we hear about often from businesses all across our state.
As so many of us work toward Maine’s educational attainment goal that 60 percent of adults have a credential of value by 2025, the economics of maximizing human potential is undeniable. It is essential to Maine’s future prosperity. Maine business leaders believe strongly that high-quality education, beginning with early care and education, is one of the most important investments we can make to ensure successful participation in a knowledge-based economy.
We now know that the brain development that occurs before children enter public school sets the foundation that supports all future learning. Thus, starting early is key to a healthy and capable workforce. Research is clear — skills developed through high-quality early childhood education last for a lifetime, and can help today’s children become the productive, stable adults of tomorrow.
The Chamber is pleased to see that there is a new proposal before the legislature, LD 1760, First4ME, that will help address the child care crisis and its negative impact on our collective economic future. I hope the legislature and the governor will act on this proposal this session, before Maine’s child care crisis gets worse.