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January 6, 2012 | last updated January 6, 2012 1:27 pm

Report: Early education boosts work force

Investing in early childhood education is essential for developing a skilled work force, according to a new report from the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Maine Development Foundation.

The report, the third in the groups' "Making Maine Work" series, found that every dollar invested in early education produces $16.14 in economic benefit. Higher degree attainment in Maine trails the national average, as does worker productivity — benchmarks that could be improved through stronger early education, the report states.

In a survey of 1,000 businesses, the chamber and MDF found many cited the strength of the state's work force as a strength in growing Maine's economy. The report recommends giving all Maine families access to public and private early child-care services, ensuring Maine child-care providers meet quality benchmarks and boosting public investment in early education, among other initiatives.

The first two reports in the Making Maine Work series studied how to lower business costs and how to improve the university system's efforts in work-force training.

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