Governor Shapiro Revitalizes Early Learning Commission with New Executive Order

early childhood education© AlpamayoPhoto / Getty Images Signature / Canva

PENNSYLVANIA — Governor Josh Shapiro took a significant step towards strengthening early childhood education in Pennsylvania at the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission’s (ELIC) 2023 Annual Meeting on Wednesday. He signed Executive Order 2023-22, rekindling the ELIC under his administration to continue the crucial public-private partnership that shapes policies and recommendations for early learning.

Under this new directive, Governor Shapiro will appoint a diverse group of business leaders, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders. They are tasked with collaborating with senior administration officials to develop a comprehensive strategic plan. The plan’s goal is to establish a sustainable pipeline of childcare workers, ensure universal pre-K for all children, and expand all-day kindergarten throughout the Commonwealth.

The ELIC has a long history, first established in 2002 by Governor Mark Schweiker as the Governor’s Task Force on Early Childhood Care and Education. It was renamed and established as the ELIC by Governor Ed Rendell in 2008. The commission has since been reestablished under Governors Corbett and Wolf.

Governor Shapiro’s decision to sign the executive order extends the bipartisan effort from previous Governors over the past two decades. This initiative emphasizes the significance of investing in early learning and developing a sustainable system of early care and education to bolster Pennsylvania’s economic and workforce development.

“For more than 20 years, Governors of both parties and business leaders across the Commonwealth have been working together to explore realistic steps we can take to ensure our kids receive the education they deserve, and our parents have the support they need,” said Governor Shapiro. His commitment to this cause is evident as he seeks to work with a diverse group of leaders in creating innovative ways to invest in early learning and childcare.

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The Governor firmly believes in the critical importance of early learning, development, and education for Pennsylvania children. This belief extends to Pennsylvania families, the education system, workers, employers, and the economy. The new Executive Order will continue to foster public and private sector investment in connecting existing workforce development initiatives with early learning practices.

Executive Order 2023-22 aims to coordinate with business and civic leaders and organizations advocating for investment in early learning at the state and local level. It directs the ELIC to develop and recommend a plan and implementation strategy. The ELIC’s recommendations must include stabilizing the early childcare workforce and increasing access to affordable, available, and accessible childcare for all Pennsylvania families, regardless of income. Moreover, it should ensure the availability of universal pre-K for Pennsylvania children and expand the availability of all-day kindergarten in all Pennsylvania public school districts and charter schools.

Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis will serve as the honorary new co-chair of the ELIC, joining Stephanie Doliveira, Executive Vice President of People and Culture at Sheetz.

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