First Five Nebraska will collaborate with Dividends Nebraska to produce a new toolkit designed to help Nebraska businesses actively support early childhood efforts in their communities and statewide. This resource will summarize the business case for high-quality early care and education, offer practical ways to create a child- and family-friendly workplace, outline strategies for exploring on-site child care or partnerships with local providers, and help employers become involved in shaping public policies that connect early childhood to workforce quality, productivity and economic development.
In recent years, multiple states have developed their own early childhood toolkits for employers, most notably Colorado EPIC and the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students. The forthcoming Nebraska toolkit will be the first of its kind for our state and will feature insights from employers representing multiple sectors of business and industry.
"Nebraska employers understand the economic rationale for promoting children's early development," said Dividends Director Drew Theophilus. "But more and more often, these employers are coming to us for practicable ideas on how to address the early childhood needs of their workers. They want realistic suggestions on how to promote early childhood effortsthat will actually create opportunity for their employees, businesses and communities. These are issues Nebraska businesses should take seriously if we want to compete successfully with other states for jobs and workforce talent."
Development of the toolkit will continue throughout the summer, with a public release planned for September. Over the course of the coming months, Dividends and First Five Nebraska are asking businesses to tell us about their own efforts and success stories related to:
- Conducting employee needs assessments as they relate to child care or related issues
- Establishing on-site child care services or creating partnerships with local child care providers
- Implementing workplace policies (flex spending accounts, schedule flexibility, etc.) to help employees with young children better support their early development
- Integrating early care and learning issues into local economic development conversations
We want to hear from you! Please weigh in on any of these or related issues, or let us know what else you'd like to see in the toolkit by using the Contact Us page on our website.