Cuts to Early Childhood Education Could Lead to Job Loss in STEM Fields

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Springfield - Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs could grow by 100,000 workers over the course of the decade according to some business leaders in the state.

However, some industry leaders and business owners are afraid there will be a shortage of qualified workers because of the state's recent cuts to programs like early childhood education.

They're now calling for a proposed increase of $75M dollars in early childhood education funding.  That's on top of last year's $730M dollar budget.
    
They believe that the money will help lay the foundation for children to be interested in STEM careers, while also making sure to continue education for low-income and at-risk students.

"We're talking about $20M dollars a year, each of four years, to help extend, not only more services, but higher quality services, to some of the kids that need it most.  Some of the lowest income, most at-risk 4 year-olds being able to obtain full-day pre-K in a situation where we've typically been able to provide half-day services for children," said Sean Noble of Ready Nation.

In a recent report released by Ready Nation, cuts to early childhood education has resulted in about 50,000 fewer children receiving state child care assistance in the first half of this fiscal year.

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