Following the Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow summit, dozens of Long Beach leaders in business, early childhood and the community gathered at a reception at the Long Beach Marriott with California State Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) to discuss how investments in early childhood support the workforce and strengthen the economy.
The event was hosted by ReadyNation California, an early childhood advocacy organization that works with business leaders to promote public policies and programs that build a stronger workforce and economy. Among the key messages from government, business and child advocacy leaders at the reception:
- “Whether public or private companies, we need to come together. We need to take a stand so our employees feel supported,” said Senator Gonzalez, who advocated for the importance of businesses providing family-friendly benefits. As a mother of three, she was able to get a discount on child care while she was working at Microsoft.
- “For us, preparing that future workforce is critical if we are going to be innovative and competitive,” said Tamika Lang, global corporate citizenship western region manager at the Boeing Company. She noted that Boeing recently added 12 weeks of parental leave and has invested in STEM education.
- “Business leaders play a key role in ensuring that our youngest children thrive. They can do this by providing the critical family-friendly policies that support working parents,” said Kim Pattillo Brownson, First 5 LA vice president of policy and strategy.
- “Investing in early education is wise because it builds our state up. Early childhood is everybody’s business,” said Susan Bonilla, California state director for ReadyNation California.
First 5 LA recognizes the role that business leaders have in supporting the well-being of children. Early this year First 5 LA, in partnership with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, published a report analyzing family-friendly practices, policies, benefits and programs provided by employers nationwide that increase the well-being of employees and enhance support for families.