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New York State Early Childhood Roadshow

CED hosted a series of breakfast forums in New York State the week of April 4th to engage business leaders around the need for investment in early care and education in the state.  The “It’s Our Business” breakfast forums were held in Rochester on April 5th, Albany on April 6th, and Long Island on April 7th.  Winning Beginning New York and America’s Edge were co-hosts with CED at all three events.

Ron Zarrella, CED Trustee and Chair Emeritus of Bausch + Lomb, hosted the April 5th event in Rochester and did an excellent job of highlighting CED’s leadership on issues related to early childhood and the importance of making such an investment from an economic development perspective, saying “The business community understands that, with rapidly advancing technology, the ability to learn ‘From Womb to Tomb’ is a core competency. The workforce of tomorrow needs to hit the ground running with quality early education opportunities in order to compete in an ever changing global economy.” Other speakers at the event included Sandra Parker, President & CEO of the Rochester Business Alliance; Dan Burns, Senior Vice President of M&T Bank; and Dr. Jeff Kaczorowski, a local pediatrician and executive director of the Children’s Agenda.  The event was co-hosted in Rochester by the Rochester Business Alliance and The Children’s Agenda.

Casey Steinbacher, President & CEO of the Durham, NC Chamber of Commerce, spoke at both the Rochester and Albany events. Steinbacher discussed the Durham Chamber’s partnership with Durham’s Partnership for Children and the emphasis the local chamber has placed on early care and education as an essential economic development strategy. Steinbacher shared five different instances in recent years in which Durham’s partnership with early care and education has been a key component of the decision for new companies to locate in Durham and stated, “Investing in Early Childhood Education is key to successfully growing your talent pool AND to creating the community assets that make you a community capable of attracting and retaining your talent pool.” She also talked about the fact that, in North Carolina and likely other states as well, third grade reading scores are used as a long-term predictor of crime and prison needs. “What better argument can there be for the need to start early?”

Other speakers at the April 6th breakfast forum in Albany included Mark Eagan, President & CEO, Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce; Chuck Steiner, President & CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Schenectady County; Katie Doran, Treasurer of the United Way of the Greater Capital Region; Marsha Basloe, Executive Director of the Early Care & Learning Council; and Jeffrey Goronkin, President & CEO, iZoca, Inc. Organizational co-hosts included the United Way of the Greater Capital Region, the Capital District Child Care Council and the two local chambers of commerce.

The third and final event of the week was held in Melville, New York on April 7th and featured Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, as the keynote speaker. Connors talked about his own realization a few years ago of the critical importance of investment in high quality early care and education. Other speakers included Dan Perkins, Vice President of the Long Island Association; Dana Friedman, founder of the Early Years Institute; Michael DeLuise, President of the Melville Chamber of Commerce; and John Corrado, President of Suffolk Transportation Service. Co-hosts for the event included the Long Island Association, the Early Years Institute and the United Way of Long Island.

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