EARLY CHILD EDUCATION
Goals of Initiative
An enormous amount of research and data shows that investing in early child education pays some of the highest returns on investment, for educational achievement, for lifelong earnings and productivity, and for the avoidance of social costs relating to poverty and criminal justice–all of which impact economic vitality.
This initiative’s goals are to:
- Increase the availability of high quality, early child education by supporting the creation and expansion of preschools and child care facilities.
- Create quality jobs in early child education. The local child care sector directly supports more than 8,500 jobs, at a value of more than $250 million in payrolls alone.
- In providing better access to child care, the EDC aims to help parents and guardians participate in the workforce knowing that their children are well cared for and supervised in an enriching environment.
EDC creates access to capital for new child care centers. In partnership with and funding from First Five Ventura County, the EDC operates a loan program that gives entrepreneurs access to the capital needed to create or expand preschools and childcare centers. Data has shown that a key cause of the shortage of child care slots is the lack of access to capital for childcare operators to expand or build new centers.
EDC provides technical assistance and advising throughout the process of planning, permitting, developing a business plan and provides support for long-term success of entrepreneurs who create a new child care center or expand an existing one.
This is a priority in the EDC’s economic development strategy because in Ventura County half of all children start school behind because they didn’t have access to preschool. Research has documented that children who start behind in school tend to stay behind. James Heckman, a Nobel Prize winning economist, has demonstrated that investments in early child education pay some of the highest returns of all programming to ensure lifelong prosperity. For more, see https://heckmanequation.org/.
The Ventura County Office of Education and Child Care Planning Council has documented that Ventura County is as many as 50,000 childcare slots short. Only 36 percent of children ages 0-14 whose parents are in the workforce have access to a licensed child care space. Further, studies find that children who are most likely to benefit from a high-quality preschool program are least likely to attend.
First Five Ventura County secured funding for a loan program to lend capital to entrepreneurs in early child education. In 2010, it tapped the EDC to run the loan program, which has generated some 318 childcare slots, 107 of which are for the especially-scarce, high-value infant and toddler age group, and directly generated 52 full-time jobs in Ventura County.