It's June, so I'm sure we all have friends or family somewhere who are proud to see their children graduating from school. Graduation heralds an ending and beginning at the same time, one of those life events that makes us reflect on personal growth and maturation.
For the 75 early child care provider participants who took part in this year's Early Learning Business Institute's graduation ceremony at Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Early Childcare Provider Business Conference at the Broward County Convention Center, the seeds for business success germinated from a newly formed public-private partnership that has grown to include non-profits, government agencies and the private sector.
As the economy continues to recover and more South Floridians are able to find jobs, access to quality, affordable child care is critical. Wasserman Schultz recognizes that child care providers need to operate successfully to deliver the best possible services for pre-school children and more often than not, these small businesses are struggling to make ends meet.
Small businesses have already experienced benefits from partnership efforts. One program participant achieved a 20 percent increase in revenue, which was reinvested into raising employee wages and expanding a summer program.
That's why this year's public-private partnership represents a significant milestone in strengthening the practical business-building resources available to small businesses that not only power our economy but also are providing the foundation to get our kids off to the best possible start to be motivated and ready to learn to succeed in school.
Our team this year has included businesses such as Florida Power & Light Company, Wells Fargo, Baptist Health Systems, Terranova and Becker & Poliakoff, as well as public sector and non-profit organizations such as The Children's Trust, The Early Learning Coalition of Broward County, Nova Southeastern University, Florida International University, the Small Business Development Corp., the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund and Broward County Public Schools among others.
Through creative collaborations like these, we can continue to demonstrate to the private sector the importance of being committed to supporting communities where their employees live and work.
The reason why these businesses are involved is that they all recognize that getting kids off to a good start in life is critical to our success as a society. Studies indicate that investing in early childhood education not only prepares children for school and helps close the achievement gap, but enables future productivity.
And thanks to our new partnership, I know of 75 recent graduates who will benefit from newly acquired business skills to help make sure that happens.
Robyn Perlman is founder and president of the Business & Leadership Institute for Early Learning in Hollywood.