Ready to Learn
Chambers of commerce are uniquely poised to work with key education stakeholders and community service providers to ensure that young children receive the quality education and wellness care they need to be healthy and ready to learn by the time they reach kindergarten. By focusing on a community’s youngest residents, a chamber can not only ensure children are set on a positive trajectory to succeed in school and career, but also instill effective wellness habits that will shape their future health—and as an added bonus, help develop a talented and productive workforce capable of competing in the 21st century global market. According to a Duke University study
, over a lifetime, childhood obesity costs $19,000 per child. Reducing childhood obesity and improving long-term well-being amounts to substantial health and economic benefits. Download the ETDD's Frameworks Toolkit for more talking points on Ready to Learn initiatives: Championing Health and Wellness - Frameworks for Chambers of Commerce.
Chambers Leading Ready to Learn Initiatives
See all examples of Health & Wellness Initiatives
or Education Initiatives
in ACCE's Samples Library, or view highlighted resources listed below.
- The Greater Kansas City (MO) Chamber of Commerce has established a Big 5 idea focused on early childhood education to improve grade level reading proficiency throughout Greater Kansas City and take steps to prevent deficiencies from occurring. The mission of Big 5 is to connect every child, every family, and every community with the resources necessary to launch successful educational careers on the first day of kindergarten.
- Greater Spokane (WA) Incorporated (GSI) is a founding member of Priority Spokane, a unique collaboration of organizations working to improve economic vitality, education, the environment and community safety and a 2014 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize winner. Their priority is to help stabilize the lives of homeless and at-risk of becoming homeless children in grades K-8 and their families in Spokane County.
- The Hampton Roads (VA) Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) division offers an Early Education Small Business Program, which is a state and nationally-recognized year-long program that provides local early education childhood providers with industry-specific small business management and early child care best practice training and mentorship.
- The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce is a key partner of Cradle to Career Sonoma County, a collective impact initiative that working to assure Sonoma County becomes the healthiest county in California. The Chamber also leads the Worksite Held Employee English Learning (WHEEL) program, which has expanded its programming to encourage employers to adopt family-friendly workplace policies, such as flexible work schedules, lactation-friendly workplace policies and resources for high-quality child care to ensure young children are healthy and ready to learn.
- The St. Joseph County (IN) Chamber of Commerce is one of the key partners in the Early Childhood Coalition (ECC) of St. Joseph County. The mission of ECC is to strengthen the community by building kindergarten readiness. ECC will create a coordinated system of community resources and supports to provide a great start for children from birth to age five. The goal is for 80% of five-year-olds in St. Joseph County to be ready for kindergarten by 2020.
- The Traverse City (MI) Area Chamber of Commerce helped develop the Great Start Collaborative, a collective impact partnership which seeks to ensure a brighter economic future by ensuring a robust system of health and education supports for all families and children.
→ See even more more chambers engaging in Ready to Learn programs.
ACCE’s Education & Talent Development Division
hosted the following presentations:
- Championing Health and Wellness: Three Approaches for Chambers webinar (September 2016) discusses how strategic investments in health and wellness can improve economic outcomes, workforce readiness, and quality of life for residents in your community. This webinar held on September 19, 2016 featured a discussion about how a chamber can utilize three key strategies (see handout) to build sustainable health and wellness initiatives that boost regional economic competitiveness. Learn about sample messaging that engages business leaders and community stakeholders and also about chamber-led best practices that improve children’s health, workplace wellness and community health. Speakers: Sarah Melby - Director of Information & Research, and Rich Hadley - Education & Talent Development Division Consultant
- Boost Wellness and Transform Talent webinar (March 2016) discusses how a health and wellness agenda advances a community’s education and economic development agenda, making a community more economically competitive. It also discusses how chambers of commerce are implementing three civic approaches, including a Ready to Learn approach, to elevate a balanced health and wellness agenda while improving their 21st century talent pipeline. Handout available here.
- Healthy Employees, Healthy Communities, Healthy Economy webinar (November 2014) presents examples of Chamber leaders are making the case for childhood wellness, including the long-term impact of childhood obesity, within their local business communities in order to yield the greatest return on investment for our future economy.
- Healthy Workforce, Healthy Economy: Investing in Early Childhood Education and Childhood Obesity Prevention ACCE Convention workshop (August 2014) featured the Bryan Stephens, CEO of the Hampton Roads (VA) Chamber of Commerce’s who presented The Business of Early Education, showcasing the Chamber’s twofold investment in business vitality and early childhood health through its Early Education Small Business Program.
- ACCE’s Obesity is a Business Issue (Fall 2014) article in the Chamber Executive Magazine discusses how current obesity rates, especially among children, is harmful to U.S. competitiveness and holds potentially debilitating future long-term economic impacts.
- The Annie E. Casey Foundation works to help to improve the lives of millions of children, families and communities across the country. The Foundation offers reports, blog posts, and resources such as:
- The Bridgespan Group produced a report “Billion Dollar Bets to Increase Early Childhood Development" (July 2016) which features calculations for targeted outcomes in early childhood investments, demonstrating that large amounts of philanthropic capital would have the potential to deliver returns of $5 to $11 on every $1 invested. If $1 billion of philanthropic investment focused on children from birth to age 5, that could put hundreds of thousands of low-income Americans on an upward mobile trajectory, meaning approximately 350,000 to 700,000 more children would enter kindergarten ready to learn, leading to a return on investment of $5.5 billion to $11 billion in potential lifetime economic benefit for the individuals and their families; and for every child whose cognitive skills increase (by .21 standard deviation), they will see an average lifetime family income increase of $15,800. Read the Press Release here.
- According to research from Bridgespan and the J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation published in Achieving Kindergarten Readiness for All Our Children, 5.8 million children nationwide are not on track to succeed as they begin kindergarten. This problem is even more prevalent in low-income communities – in any given year, 1 million low-income 5 year olds are not fully ready when they enter kindergarten. As a solution, the Billion Dollar Bets Study highlights returns of 5:1 to 11:1 for investments in early childhood development.
- The Brookings Institute published a report titled School-centered approaches to improve community health: Lessons from school-based health centers (July 2016) that demonstrates how school-based health centers (SBHCs) and health care systems can collaborate effectively to address the complex health needs of students.
- The California AfterSchool Network’s State of Expanded Learning in California (2014) provides an overview of public investment in expanded learning in California and outlines how expanded learning programs can increase nutrition, physical activity and food security.
- The Center for Youth Wellness is part of a national effort to revolutionize pediatric medicine and transform the way society responds to kids exposed to significant adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress, led founder and CEO Dr. Nadine Burke Harris. View her TED Talk on How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime to learn how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) affect the development of the brain and offers solutions to address this wide-scale public health issue.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides resources and statistics on Healthy Schools, Childhood Obesity Facts, and information on the CDC's Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) Study with findings that show ACES can be prevented and offers ways interrupt the progression of early adversity.
- The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation launched Together Counts, a nationwide program, which offers free resources, such as a School Toolkit, for schools and families that are designed to keep children active and healthy living.
- Mission Readiness produces papers and state-specific reports and resources on how to keep children, families and the country strong, healthy, fit and well. Two reports of note: Still Too Fat to Fight and Too Fat to Fight.
- The National League of Cities is working to create healthier communities for healthier kids and provides statistics on Childhood Obesity by the Numbers.
- Salud America!, a non-profit that supports healthy policy and environmental changes offers a topic-based portal on Active Spaces with ways to bring in more physical activity to underserved kids; additional topic portals include Healthier Schools, Healthy Weight, and Health Equity.
- The Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) has added state advocacy toolkits to its website, which aim to help health and physical education teachers promote programs in their own schools and communities. Resources include: fact sheets, presentations, templates, and links to key stakeholders.
- The Traverse City (MI) Chamber of Commerce’s Great Start Collaborative authored Dividends of a Great Start: Regional Economic Impacts of Conditions Affecting Children Birth to Five Years (December 2010), which reports key findings that the chamber uses as the basis for their work in childhood health.
- The Trust for America's Health prepared the report, A Healthy Early Childhood Action Plan: Policies for a Lifetime of Well-being, with support from a grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which highlights more than 40 policy areas that are key to achieving national goals of reducing toxic stress and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and improving the lives of millions of children.
- The National Business Group on Health highlights Three Ways Childhood Obesity is Impacting Your Business (2012) in an issue brief, stating that childhood obesity increases health care utilization, decreases employee productivity and affects the future workforce.
- The World Health Organization’s Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (2016) calls for immediate action to address the alarming global rise in childhood obesity and overweight rates, explaining how this major health challenge limits the ability for children to thrive in life.
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| Ready to LearnLast Updated: 8/1/2018