By Sara Watson, National Director of ReadyNation/America’s Edge

There are many compelling reasons for supporting high-quality pre-kindergarten education. You might be told quality pre-k programs can lead to reductions in crime, improvements in public health and nutrition, and stronger families—all of which are true. But there are strong, bottom-line economic benefits as well.

The business leaders of ReadyNation/America’s Edge know this, which is why we are dedicated to strengthening businesses by expanding quality pre-k opportunities. These programs bring immediate and long-term benefits to families and communities.

IMMEDIATELY, we see a return on investment in the sale of local goods and services that outpaces many other economic sectors. Pre-k programs also create jobs; in fact, according to the IMPLAN economic data for Pennsylvania, a $1 billion investment in high-quality pre-K would create almost 28,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, including 5,600 jobs outside the early learning sector. In addition, quality pre-k programs help to reduce employee absenteeism, a problem that costs U.S. businesses $3 billion annually.

IN THE FUTURE, we will have a stronger workforce made up of children who were given a strong foundation for success and grew into productive adults. High-quality pre-k programs, especially for disadvantaged children, can increase high school graduation rates, the likelihood of being consistently employed, and lifetime earnings as well.

We know that quality pre-k is essential for our kids and for our economy. Now it is up to us to make it happen for Pennsylvania’s children.

Sara Watson is the National Director of ReadyNation/America’s Edge. To view the report “Strengthening Pennsylvania Businesses through Investments in Pre-Kindergarten,” please click here.