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Building Early Childhood Public/Private Partnerships in Wisconsin

CED co-hosted an event that highlighted the need for increased investment in early care and education in Wisconsin, and convened 50 business leaders, state legislators, early childhood education policy advocates and Governor's staff to discuss the potential for developing local and state-level public/private partnerships to support Wisconsin’s early childhood education system.

Local partners included Wisconsin Department of Commerce, Partnership for Wisconsin’s Economic Success, the Wisconsin Public Research Institute, Wisconsin Technology Council, New North and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, and took place at the Madison Councourse Hotel and Governor's Club in Madison, Wisconsin.

Speakers at the event included:

  • Charles Kolb, CED President
  • Jon Stellmacher, CED Trustee and  Co-Chair, Partnership for Wisconsin’s Economic Success
  • Eloise Anderson, Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Children & Families
  • Paul Jadin, Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Commerce
  • George Lightbourn, President, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI)
  • Paul Hirschbiel, Founding Chairman, Virginia Early Childhood Foundation
  • Karen Ponder, Retired President, North Carolina Partnership for Children
  • Tom Still, President, Wisconsin Technology Council
  • Steve Goldberg, Executive Director of the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation (moderator)

Charles Kolb, CED President, opened the meeting with a call to the participants to think about the priorities for investing in their state and the certain benefits of that early investment. Cabinet Secretaries Anderson and Jadin added more specific details as to the priorities for Wisconsin, the importance of greater private sector investment and public sector priorities. WPRI President George Lightbourn described a study that he is conducting with CED funding which will focus on the impact of early childhood investment

Participants were particularly interested to hear from Karen Ponder and Paul Hirschbiel, leaders in North Carolina and Virginia in the development of early childhood public/private partnerships. They were able to provide very specific advice and lessons learned to assist with efforts in Wisconsin.  Tom Still followed up their presentations with a discussion about what must happen in Wisconsin to move this agenda forward in the future.

View the North Carolina Smart Start presentation

View the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation Progress Report

This event was made possible by the generous support of the Birth to Five Policy Alliance.