Bevin highlights role of early childhood development in workforce, launches literacy campaign

By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line

MIDWAY, Ky. — Gov. Matt Bevin was joined by early childhood development leaders from across the state to announce a literacy campaign with a call to action for early childhood educators in the state of Kentucky.

Linda Hampton, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood, pointed out that promoting literacy early in a child’s life was vital to the development of essential skills and other foundational traits that are necessary for a vibrant workforce. Hampton noted a child’s brain has developed more than 80 percent by age five.

The campaign includes a statewide reading day to be held on Nov. 16 when Kentuckians will be encouraged to read to children. The day seeks to bring attention to the importance of literacy as a component of a child’s growth and education. The campaign complements efforts to strengthen early childhood education and access to quality childcare.

The press conference was held at Lakeshore Learning, a producer of educational products for schools and families in Midway, Ky. Lakeshore President Kevin Carnes said his company has received a warm welcome in Kentucky where they began production in December 2017 and said they plan to continue to expand in the state because he believes Kentucky is “open for business” thanks to a business-friendly environment.

Deputy Secretary of Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Cabinet Josh Benton said early childhood learning has everything to do with workforce development and added employers in the commonwealth are in critical need and will continue to require strong employees and that process begins early in development with foundational skills including communication and others.

In addition to announcing the literacy campaign, the Governor and first lady Glenna Bevin launched Who Is In Your Family? a book created in partnership with the first lady, Governor’s Office of Early Childhood, and Lakeshore Learning that shows early learners how unique families can be. The book will be used to highlight the many different ways families can form.