ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — State business leaders say more needs to be done to improve racial equity in Illinois workforce.
The non-profit Ready Nation released the report on Thursday. The group believes that to get more minorities into the workforce, more money needs to be invested in Illinois children.
According to Ready Nation, only 3 out of 10 Illinois kindergartners were fully prepared for school in 2019.
For Black children, the report found 23% were unprepared for school; among Latino children, 17%.
Among other things, the ReadyNation Illinois report recommends:
- Boosting early childhood workforce development and compensation, especially considering this labor pool’s heavy reliance upon women — and women of color;
- Bolstering social-emotional supports for young children, their teachers and caregivers;
- Focusing further on meeting children’s foundational, prenatal-to-3 needs, as envisioned by Illinois PN3 plans and related coalition efforts; and
- Taking bold steps in pursuing big-picture, systemic reforms of early childhood services, such as those represented in the unfolding work of a state commission studying adequacy, equity and governance improvements.
“When we start addressing these inequities and finding solutions and bringing everybody back to where we should be, to par, that’s when we’re really going to take off and grow as a country,” said Rudy Valdez, engineering manager at Kaney Aerospace.
Workers of color make up one-third of Illinois’ workforce.