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New Pre-K for PA Report Finds Every Dollar Invested in Pre-K Generates $1.79 in PA Economy

ReadyNation/America's Edge analysis shows spending & jobs impact

PHILADELPHIA, April 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Access to high-quality pre-k has both immediate and lasting economic benefits that extend far beyond the individual child, according to a new report from ReadyNation/America's Edge. The study, which was commissioned as a research element of the Pre-K for PA campaign, found that for every $1 dollar invested in pre-k, the state's economy would see $1.79 in spending and economic activity. 

"If Pennsylvania funded pre-k for all 3- and 4-year-olds, that investment would generate $800 million in additional goods and services and create almost 28,000 new jobs," said Sara Watson, Ph. D., national director of ReadyNation/America's Edge. 

In the five-county, Southeastern Pennsylvania region, the report projects an immediate economic boost for local businesses: a $340 million investment in pre-k would generate $609 million in new spending – including $269 million outside the early education sector –translating to over 9,500 jobs. The return on every dollar that Pennsylvania invests in early childhood programs is due to a "multiplier effect" that outpaces even the robust boost seen in seven out of nine other major business sectors studied, such as retail trade and manufacturing.

"For business leaders, this study shows that there is a double benefit from investing in pre-k," remarked Phil Peterson, co-chair of the business advisory committee of ReadyNation/America's Edge and a partner in the Radnor, PA office of AON. "We all know the long term benefits in reduced crime and social costs and increased employment and earning power, but this study shows that communities across Pennsylvania would see increased economic activity immediately as a result of expanding pre-k."

The report examined two potential economic scenarios to model the possible outcomes: first estimating the benefits if Pennsylvania fully funded its existing Pre-K Counts program to cover all children from families earning up to 300% of the federal poverty level; and next expanding access to all unserved 3- and 4-year-olds regardless of income.

"The benefits of investing in high quality pre-k go beyond even the significant impact demonstrated by the economic modeling," said Steve Wray, Executive Director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia. "We're in a competitive economy, and the future abilities of our workforce will be determined by skills developed in pre-kindergarten. 62% of job openings in Pennsylvania in the current decade will require some form of post-secondary education, and to remain competitive, businesses also need communicators, collaborators and critical thinkers."

"The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce supports early childhood education as an important first step in every child's development," noted Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. "We support strategic improvements and reforms in our education system to enhance our Commonwealth's economy and to provide a well-educated workforce for the 21st century. This study provides valuable information for policy-makers' consideration as they take steps to ensure Pennsylvania's public education system remains competitive and growing into the future."

"All children deserve access to a high-quality pre-k experience that prepares them to enter school ready to learn," Jill Michal, President and CEO of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey explained. "Our goal is to provide lawmakers and candidates with good information that they can use as they develop the policies and strategies to invest in the future of both our children and the Commonwealth's economy. We look forward to continued engagement as we all work towards a better future for Pennsylvania and its children."

For more information on the need for and benefits of high-quality pre-k, please visit Pre-k for PA's website here.

ReadyNation/America's Edge is the nation's preeminent business leader organization working to strengthen business through better policies for children and youth. They educate policymakers and the public about effective investments that will help businesses compete in today's global marketplace, build a foundation for lasting economic security, and help children get on the right track to succeed in school and in life.

Pre-K for PA is an issue campaign supported by thousands of individuals and organizations across Pennsylvania who believe that investing in our children is the right choice and an urgent necessity. Our vision is that every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania will have access to high-quality pre-k. While the campaign neither endorses nor opposes candidates, it advocates on behalf of this vision for Pennsylvania's children, schools and communities.

SOURCE Pre-K for PA Campaign

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