Coalition of NH Business Leaders Announce Support for Full Day Kindergarten
Full Day Kindergarten Supported as Key Workforce Development Strategy
A broad coalition of business and community leaders rallied support today for a proposal to expand full-day kindergarten in New Hampshire. The Greater Manchester, Greater Derry Londonderry, Greater Dover, Greater Keene, Greater Nashua, and Greater Salem Chambers of Commerce all announced their support today for legislative efforts to expand full-day kindergarten in New Hampshire. The Chambers were joined by Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, officials from local school districts, and several business and community leaders.
Expansion of full day kindergarten was initially included in Governor Sununu’s budget proposal. It has since been approved by the State Senate through separate legislation, Senate Bill 191. SB 191 recently was recommended by the House Education Committee on a 15-4 vote and goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote this week.
Chamber executives participating in the press conference cited the impact full day kindergarten will have on efforts to attract and retain young families as part of the state’s workforce as a key benefit, along with the positive impacts kindergarten has been shown to have on early childhood learning.
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What Business and Community Leaders are Saying about Full Day Kindergarten
“The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is strategically focused on workforce development and attracting young talent to the state. Full-day kindergarten is a family friendly public policy that will help with efforts to attract and retain young families as part of our state’s workforce,” said Mike Skelton, President & CEO, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
“In addition to being extremely beneficial from an early learning standpoint, offering full-day kindergarten is increasingly a necessity for attracting and retaining younger workers. It is from this workforce development standpoint that the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce is proud to support an investment in full-day kindergarten funding in New Hampshire,” said Will Stewart, President, Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.
“The benefits of increased access to full-day kindergarten will boost New Hampshire’s economy and improve our overall quality of life. It is time New Hampshire lawmakers make a smart investment in its most important economic resource – our kids – and put our state on a path to greater growth and prosperity,” said Molly Hodgson, President, Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce.
“Our support of full-day kindergarten is a direct reflection of Greater Keene’s investment in our young citizens. We support several initiatives that work to attract and retain young professionals,” said Phil Suter, President & CEO, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce.
“Our Chamber supports full-day kindergarten for New Hampshire. At a time when we face shortages of skilled workers and are working to attract young people and their families to our state, we need to be aware of and responsive to what they’re looking for – a place to raise their families where education is valued and supported,” said Tracy Hatch, President & CEO, Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce.
“Even though Salem would not be the recipient of the present level of funding being discussed, my area businesses welcomed the discussion of the importance of early education statewide. In short, the message can be distilled down to – We need to make to make sure that, as a state, we are acting in the interest of the people that live here, the businesses that are trying to attract the best workforce, and the children that are being educated here. We need to make sure the New Hampshire advantage is real,” said Donna Morris, President, Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce.
“The Granite United Way supports early, comprehensive and sustained pre-primary education. Data consistently shows the positive outcomes that full day kindergarten programs have for both students and teachers when compared with their half day peers. Full-day kindergarten would provide New Hampshire children equal opportunity for lifelong benefits in employment, income and healthy behaviors,” said Patrick Tufts, President & CEO, Granite United Way.
“In both my capacity as Mayor, and Chairman of the School Board, I believe this is one of the most important pieces of legislation to come before the legislature this session. When it comes to our students, in the City of Manchester, full-day kindergarten is making a real difference,” said Ted Gatsas, Mayor of Manchester.