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1/22/2014

hibbingmn.com

Economy and early childhood education - Hibbing Daily Tribune: Local

http://www.hibbingmn.com/news/local/article_512df6c2-596b-11e3-b790-0019bb2963f4.html

Economy and early childhood education by Tony Potter Staff Writer tpotter@hibbingdailytribune.net

HIBBING — The projected growth of the labor force is expected to slow down over the next couple of decades. Rob Grunewald, an economist for Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, said this is due to the upcoming retirement of the baby boomer generation during a business leaders luncheon forum recently at Hibbing Park Hotel. “As this happens, there will be an increase in demands of workers with more skills,” he said. “Higher levels of education will be required, which will make it harder for those without education past a high school diploma to find work.” Grunewald’s presentation discussing “Minnesota’s economic outlook and the role of early childhood education” took a look at both the Minnesota economy and long-term employment. He said that since the recession, Minnesota is recovering better than the nation as a whole. Minnesota is higher than the U.S. average in relation to the percentage of people age 16 and over who are employed, Grunewald said. “The contributing factor is a decrease in labor force participation,” he said. The goal is to lower the unemployment rate to 6.5 percent to continue moving the economy forward, Grunewald explained. Some areas in the workforce have picked up over the past couple of year such as homebuilding and other construction trades, while manufacturing and mining are holding their own. “Wage and inflation pressures are relatively mild,” Grunewald said. “… But some businesses are having problems finding qualified workers.” The solution to providing the workforce with qualified workers long-term — the country’s youth. “Early childhood growth is very important,” Grunewald said. “I’m convinced that if we make changes and teach children what’s important early, that’ll have the greatest impact.” The early years are the most important to brain growth. A total of 700 connections form per second in the brain of an infant or toddler, Grunewald said. “Those age groups are an amazing period of proliferation in the growth of children,” he said. “The connections reinforced early stay, those that aren’t fade.” Grunewald added that it’s crucial for children to grow up in engaging communities. “Those who do, show up for their first day of kindergarten ready to succeed,” he said. The biggest risk factors for the future of youth is growing up in a dysfunctional household where there is alcohol consumption, drug abuse or poverty, Grunewald said. “At 18 months old, children show different vocabulary when their parents have a college education compared to those who are in poverty,” he said. “By age 3, that number doubles.” http://www.hibbingmn.com/news/local/article_512df6c2-596b-11e3-b790-0019bb2963f4.html

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1/22/2014

Economy and early childhood education - Hibbing Daily Tribune: Local

Grunewald said that is due to two reasons: the number of words spoken in the child’s home and the amount of interactions the child has with his or her parents. “This is why the early years are so important,” Grunewald said. “It’s a sensitive time of development.” Poverty is also a contributing factor to adverse experiences. Adults who’ve experienced six adverse experience during their childhood are three times more likely to suffer heart disease than the normal person, according to the Adverse Childhood Experience Study. Minnesota has recently put in place a quality rating and improvement system for early childhood care called Parent Aware, Grunewald said. Minnesota Early Learning Foundation has set aside $20 million toward scholarships for Parent Aware to help kids ages 3-4 who live in a low-income household attend the program. “The scholarships are designed to empower families, and to improve kids’ school readiness,” Grunewald said. Kiddy Karousel Nursery School and Child Care Center is the first early childhood facility in Northern St. Louis County to join Parent Aware. The program is going to benefit the facility and the children who attend it, said Director Pat Ives. “We’re very excited,” she said. “It’ll bring recognition to this part of the Range.” Grunewald said that Parent Aware will benefit the future workforce by helping improve, support and celebrate the strengths of child care and early education programs. “It’s the pathway for support to improve programs that are already in place,” he said. Grunewald also held an early childhood community forum discussing “Why invest in quality early childhood? Impacts on families and our economy” Tuesday afternoon at Mesabi Range Community and Technical College. Child Care Needs Survey Results Recent phone and internet surveys by the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota made several discoveries regarding quality child care across the Iron Range, including: Child care availability or access impacts the decision of: • 22 percent of families surveyed by phone and 31 percent of families surveyed via internet to have children. • 37 percent of families surveyed by phone and 31 percent surveyed via internet to have additional children. • 31 percent of families surveyed by phone and 50 percent surveyed via internet to continue to live in Upper St. Louis County or Itasca County. It’s very hard or somewhat hard to find high quality child care because families: • Need more flexible scheduling from childcare providers. • Would prefer more formal early childhood education.

http://www.hibbingmn.com/news/local/article_512df6c2-596b-11e3-b790-0019bb2963f4.html

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1/22/2014

Economy and early childhood education - Hibbing Daily Tribune: Local

• Experience waiting lists as long as up to one year. Child care providers express concerns in meeting the above needs due to: • Space limitations within facilities or homes. • Barriers to offering early childhood education. • Expensive, time intensive and geographically impractical training. • Financial strain to update equipment and materials.

http://www.hibbingmn.com/news/local/article_512df6c2-596b-11e3-b790-0019bb2963f4.html

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Economy and early childhood education hibbing daily tribune local