Business Executives Explore Impact of Early Childhood on Future Workforce

Richmond, VA (Oct. 13, 2016) – The Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) will host an invitation-only luncheon and executive briefing for statewide business executives on “The Economics of Early Childhood: Smart Beginnings for Virginia’s Workforce Pipeline.” The event, which is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 17 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, will build on the growing recognition and support for a strong public-private early childhood system in Virginia.

Both of the organizing entities are committed to advancing quality early learning initiatives in the state:

  • The Virginia Chamber of Commerce coordinated the Blueprint Virginia initiative with the input of more than 7,000 business and community leaders in 2013 to craft a long-term strategy for Virginia’s economic competitiveness. Among other key findings, the report highlighted the direct link between a strong start in the early years and a vibrant productive workforce for the Commonwealth.
  • The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and its statewide Smart Beginnings initiatives are focused on ensuring that communities across Virginia have capacity to support the good health and school readiness of young children.

Featured speakers for the Oct. 17 event are:

  • Patricia K. Kuhl, Ph.D., co-director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences and director of the National Science Foundation’s Science of Learning Center, both at the University of Washington. In addition, she is a professor in the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences and Endowed Chair of the Bezos Family Foundation for Early Childhood Learning at the University of Washington. She is internationally recognized for her research on early language and brain development, and for studies that show how children learn. Dr. Kuhl’s remarks will emphasize the science and research behind early learning, in particular with regards to linguistic development in babies.
  • Mike Chinn is president of S&P Global Market Intelligence. He joined the company in 2015 with the acquisition of Charlottesville-based SNL Financial, where he had served as an analyst and as CEO at the time of the sale. During his tenure, SNL grew from 40 employees to more than 3,000. He currently serves on the Leadership Council of Smart Beginnings Thomas Jefferson Area.

The speakers’ remarks during the Executive Briefing will address various aspects of the economics and business case for emphasizing early education as a foundation for success in learning, career development and ultimately the economic vitality of a region. They will offer insights from their perspectives in the education and business arenas that will help participants understand how important the early years are in laying the groundwork for lifelong success.

“Virginia’s economic prosperity is inextricably linked to the education and skills of its citizens,” said Barry DuVal, President & CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “Improving access to high quality early childhood development and education will build a stronger workforce for the 21st century in Virginia.”

“Virginia’s business community understands that the early years are the first stage of the workforce pipeline,” said Reggie Jones, board chair of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and a partner with the Richmond-based law firm of Williams Mullen. “It is vital that we empower and support families to ensure that our youngest citizens have access to enriching experiences and opportunities so they’ll have the strong start that they deserve.”

For more information about this event, contact

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About the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation: VECF creates results-oriented partnerships to ensure that young children are healthy and prepared for school, life and workforce success. To learn more about VECF and the Smart Beginnings initiative, visit

About the Virginia Chamber: The Virginia Chamber of Commerce is the largest business advocacy organization in the Commonwealth, with more than 25,000 members. The Chamber is a non-partisan, business advocacy organization that works in the legislative, regulatory and political arenas to act as the catalyst for positive change in all areas of economic development and competitiveness for Virginia. For more information, visit