Illinois Business Leaders Call For More Early Education Funding

Apr 27, 2016

Illinois business leaders say the state could significantly grow jobs related to math and science if it can develop the workforce needed to do those jobs.

Members of ReadyNation Illinois. From left to right is Rudy Valdez of South West Ideas for Today & Tomorrow, Tom Fitch of Harold O'Shea Builders and JoEllen Randall of Blessing Health System. Not fully pictured is Janet Mathis of Renew Moline.

  Tom Fitch, vice president of a construction company in Springfield, said when low-income kids don't get the early learning they need, they fall behind in school and never catch up.

"The way to fix that is through quality early childhood education," he said. "To me, that's cost-effective investment of our tax dollars because it's something that can be fixed at that point in time."

Fitch and other members of the non-profit group ReadyNation say Illinois needs to reverse the trend of cutting state-supported preschool. The group supports Gov. Bruce Rauner's plan to increase preschool funding by $75 million.