Contact: Kate Phillips: (215) 850-4647  

Employees Community Service Fund of GE Commits $30K to Pre-K for PA; Pledges 3,000 Signatures

Pre-K for PA efforts would increase access for middle class families; Supporting organizations line up behind Pre-K for PA effort

ERIE, PA (June 16, 2014)  – The Employees Community Service Fund of General Electric, representing the union workforce, today announced its commitment to supporting access to quality early childhood education for all three and four-year-olds in Pennsylvania.  In addition to a $30,000 grant to be used to help raise awareness for the importance of quality Pre-K and increase support for expanded access, the member run organization pledged to collect 3,000 signatures to be sent to lawmakers in Harrisburg.

“The goals of this campaign align with our needs of the communities we support and the members who support the fund,” said Rob Celeski, Employee Community Service Fund Chairman.  “Advancing access to early childhood education to all families—especially middle class working families—helps to level the playing field and create a more qualified workforce.  The forward progress of generations will be supported by the advancement of access to quality learning to all families.”

“More and more studies show that early childhood learning benefits our families and strengthens our communities,” said UE 506 President Scott Duke, whose members committed to collecting 3,000 signatures to support the Pre-K for PA efforts.  “Every parent who wants their child to experience the benefits of early childhood learning, should have access to quality programs as part of the public education continuum.”

“At a time when good-paying, family supporting jobs are becoming harder to find access to early childhood education is becoming increasingly valuable to the next generation,” said Pre-K for PA Co-Chair Ronald A. DiNicola.  “The employees at GE understand the value of early childhood education and we salute them for recognizing that the time for access for all kids has come.”

“As a business owner employing more than 2,000, I understand the value of a well educated workforce with access to early child hood education helping build a solid foundation for each and every kid,” said Pre-K for PA Co-Chair Nick Scott Jr. “I could not be more proud to stand alongside the team at GE as they pledge their support to Pre-K for all kids and thank them for their continued commitment to enhancing the communities they live in.”

Last week Former Pennsylvania governors, democrat Ed Rendell and republican Mark Schweiker, stopped in Erie to highlight the need for expanded access to high-quality pre-k as a necessary step toward growing Pennsylvania’s economy and building the skilled work force required to attract businesses and create jobs new jobs.  The following supporting organizations and individuals have signed on to help advance the goals of the Pre-K for PA campaign:

Employees Community Service Fund of General Electric
United Way of Erie County
Erie Community Foundation
PSEA Northwest Region
Erie Central Labor Council
Erie Regional Chamber of Commerce
PNC Bank
Erie Bank
Erie Together
The Jefferson Society
Former Erie Mayor Joyce Savacchio
Mercyhurst Prep High School President, Mary Ellen Dahlkemper
PSEA Northwest Regional President, Sam Talarico
Iroquois Superintendent, Dr. Shane Murray
Erie School District Superintendent Dr. Jay Badams
Erie School Board member, Bob Casillo
Erie’s Future Fund, Michelle Harkins
Keystone Research Corporation, Joyce Miller, PhD.
Barb’s Care-A-Lot, Barbara Gainer
Penn State Behrend Early Learning Center, Eunice Moore
Early Connections, Nancy Kalista
St. Stephens Episcopal Church Nursery School, Kristen Fisher,
Millcreek School District preschool education Director, Sara Grutkowski
YMCA of Corry Child Care Director Michele Brady
A Child’ World Daycare & Learning Center, Theresa Mitchell
Gertrude Barber Center, Kathy Bastow
County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper
State Senator Sean Wiley
Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott
State Representative Ryan Bizarro
State Representative Flo Fabrizio
State Representative Pat Harkins

Pre-K for PA is an issue campaign supported by 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. We will not endorse nor oppose candidates, but rather we will advocate on behalf of this vision for Pennsylvania’s children, schools and communities.

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