LOS ANGELES, Oct. 12, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In an environment plagued by a shortage of qualified teachers, a dearth of high-quality early child care and education options for working parents, and a substantial number of young people who find themselves lacking necessary job skills to enter the workforce, the 8th annual Crossroads Summit in Los Angeles will tackle these issues with a determination to find long-term political, financial and educational solutions. "LA's Workforce at the Crossroads Summit: The Essential Role of Early Care and Education and Its Workforce" will take place at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles on October 14 and 15.
The City of Los Angeles Workforce Development Board is co-presenting the summit in conjunction with Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP), the early education nonprofit that has helped prepare more than 105,000 preschoolers by funding, rating and providing coaching to more than 640 early education sites in Los Angeles County. For the first time in its eight-year history, the summit will focus on the early care and education (ECE) workforce, bringing together leaders from workforce/career pathway development, education, government, philanthropy and ECE to explore the following:
- Using the ECE field as a way to provide career pathways for the emerging workforce.
- Adequate training and support for the current ECE workforce to improve high-quality care and education services for young children.
- Providing working parents with affordable, safe, reliable, high-quality ECE options.
- Providing all children with quality ECE to help them get on the pathway to becoming more active learners, and, eventually, achieve better academic and career outcomes, thereby strengthening the future economy.
David Crippens, board chair of LAUP and president of the City of Los Angeles Workforce Development Board Youth Council, said the summit offers an unprecedented opportunity to catapult the ECE sector as a major player in workforce and economic development.
To underscore the summit's mission, consider the following:
- In L.A. County, the ECE industry provides more than 65,000 jobs.
- By 2022, the ECE workforce is expected to grow by 3.7%. The number of children is expected to grow by 5%. This discrepancy will create a shortage of roughly 8,500 workers.
- The lack of accessible, quality ECE options strains working parents, particularly the working poor and middle class, and affects their ability to be productive in the workforce.
"I've been pushing for years to have early care and education considered as a serious workforce sector," Crippens said. "Why? Because as research and experience show us how dire it is for every child to have a quality early education, to have quality infant and toddler care, we can no longer afford the larger workforce to look at ECE as something 'those people' do.
"It's important for the workforce world to truly understand why ECE is so essential," he said. "It is absolutely essential, because if we don't provide our young children with high-quality care and education as early as possible, we will continue to have an ill-prepared workforce and we will ultimately fail. ECE is the linchpin. L.A. County cannot move forward as an economy until we fix our ECE workforce."
The Crossroads Summit has a track record of acting as a catalyst for substantive and sustainable change for our county's workforce, including being an impetus for policy improvements affecting at-risk youth, disadvantaged adults and veterans.
Crossroads Summit speakers include Kim Belshé, executive director of First 5 LA, Senator Carol Liu; Gregg Irish, executive director of the City of Los Angeles Workforce Development Board; Tim Rainey, executive director of the California Workforce Development Board; Bill Allen, President and CEO of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation and more.
Crippens said the summit is just a beginning. Outcomes include a white paper to be published by early next year, as well as suggestions on policy change and other actions to invest more into the early care and education workforce.
Press check-in, interviews and press packets will be available at the summit. Interviews before the summit can also be arranged.
Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
October 14, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and October 15, 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m
About City of Los Angeles Workforce Development Board
The City of Los Angeles Workforce Development Board (WDB) oversees the expenditure of more than $50 million in public funds annually. Board members are appointed by the Mayor from the leadership ranks of the education, economic development and organized labor fields as well as other key players in the Los Angeles economy. The WDB, made up of representatives from businesses, labor organizations, educational institutions, and community organizations, helps to design and implement a local workforce development policy.
LAUP is a 10-year-old non-profit organization whose mission is to support the development of the whole child, grow a qualified and diverse workforce, and strengthen family engagement in order to promote access and program excellence. Since 2005, LAUP has prepared more than 100,000 children for kindergarten and beyond by funding, rating and raising the level of quality preschool programs throughout Los Angeles County. laup.net
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A photo accompanying this release is available at: