From the CEO: Nurturing the next-generation workforce with early childhood education

AME | February 29, 2024

I recently attended a "Milk and Cookies" open house event at the Peake Childhood Center in Hampton, Virginia. While there were a lot of "oohs" and "ahhs" about the incredible work they are doing with pre-kindergarten children, it was even more fascinating to learn about the impact early childhood education has on a person's life.

I learned how early childhood education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and development. And here's why this should matter to us: As manufacturers, we are all looking for workforce-ready employees skilled in technical and soft skills. Early childhood education provides this. Early exposure to critical thinking and problem-solving can shape this next-generation workforce. Early childhood education fosters creativity and innovation, and as continuous improvement professionals, isn't this what we are looking for? It also nurtures communication and team-building skills. Studies show that children who attend early childhood education become more successful adults.

Peake board member Patricia Melochick shared, "Peake builds solid foundations for our most valued resource: children! Our workforce and leaders of the future. My life has been blessed with engaged and dedicated educators, and I know how that firm foundation has held me up and advanced my career and life in untold ways. Peake takes a 'whole child approach' to education with a curriculum that extends beyond the classroom to the home. Best of all, it provides this opportunity to children and families who could not otherwise afford it."

It's not too early to start. The children I met at the Peake Childhood Center could easily be your team members and leaders in less than 20 years. We want to nurture this next generation. By investing in the early years, we can build a stronger, more resilient manufacturing industry and create a brighter future for generations to come. Sometimes, we come across people and services in our communities who inspire us. The team I met here certainly touched my heart with their passion and commitment to these children. Take a look at your community and see how you might help. The child in your community that you help today just might be on your leadership team tomorrow.

Executive director of the Peake Childhood Center Jennifer Parrish (far left) welcomes visitors.

We have our AME Back to Basics Virtual Lean Summit 2024 (FREE for members) in March. In May, we will travel to Tennessee for the AME Nashville 2024 Lean Summit. These are two great training opportunities for your team members. They will benefit from the learning and camaraderie of attendees and presenters. And, of course, you'll want to attend the 40th AME International Conference this October in Atlanta to CONNECT. EVOLVE. TRANSFORM.

As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.