On Wednesday, September 8, 2022, the AR Asset Funders Network partnered with Excel by Eight and the Institute for Economic Equity at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis hosted a roundtable discussion ‘Child Care and the Economy: An Arkansas Roundtable.’ The gathering featured business and industry leaders from across the state who shared insights and discuss opportunities to support child care for the current and future workforce.
“The COVID-19 pandemic showed a spotlight on the child care crisis in Arkansas and how crucial access to high-quality, affordable child care is to the state’s economic recovery,” said Angela Duran, executive director of Excel by Eight. “Access to reliable child care plays a critical role in allowing parents with young children to return to work, and in turn, preparing the next generation of healthy and capable workers. It is imperative that Arkansas businesses and industry leaders join together to bridge the economic gap child care has caused in Arkansas.”
The discussion was led by Roby Brock, editor-in-chief of Talk Business and Politics. He was joined by panelists: Saras Chung, research fellow, Institute for Economic Equity at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank and executive director, SKIP Designed; Garrett Dolan, senior manager of corporate social responsibility of Tyson Foods; Angela Duran, executive director of Excel by Eight; Sam Evans, senior community development advisor, Institute for Economic Equity at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank; and Jill Wilson, executive director of Open Arms Learning Center Noah’s Ark Preschool.
“Early childhood education is crucial for brain development and long-term adjustment for kids, but it has been given less emphasis and resources than education in K-12,” said Saras Chung, executive director of SKIP Designed, and a research fellow at the Institute for Economic Equity at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. “Our work here today is focused on strategies that will shape the future for children, their families, and the state’s economy.”
Roby Brock (moderator) -Editor-in-chief and host, Talk Business and Politics
Saras Chung – Research fellow, Institute for Economic Equity at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank and executive director, SKIP Designed
Garrett Dolan – Senior manager of corporate social responsibility, Tyson Foods
Angela Duran – Executive director, Excel by Eight
Sam Evans – Senior community development advisor, Institute for Economic Equity at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank
Jill Wilson – Executive director, Open Arms Learning Center Noah’s Ark Preschool
About Excel by Eight
Excel by Eight is a collaborative effort of more than 30 partner organizations focused on increasing Arkansas children’s health and education outcomes. It is committed to strengthening resource grids statewide by building local models for change; identifying and resolving policy barriers; and enhancing public understanding of early childhood development. For more information, visit excelby8.net.
Institute for Economic Equity at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
The Institute for Economic Equity promotes a more equitable economy for households and communities in the Eighth Federal Reserve District and beyond. It works to support an economy that works for all, regardless of race or ethnicity, gender or where they live.