Funding for high-quality preschool programs has become a top priority for many businesses across the country.
PNC Financial Services Group, one of the nation’s largest financial-services providers, for one, is taking an aggressive approach with a program called “Grow Up Great.”
The Pittsburgh-based company has committed $100 million to the 10-year initiative, which offers grants to early-education centers nationwide to provide preschool services.
In addition, the company has recruited nearly 4,000 employee volunteers, who are working with Head Start programs and nonprofit early education organizations in a variety of roles, including as teaching assistants, financial-services counselors, tutors, and facility-maintenance workers.
“It’s not just giving a check,” said Eva Blume, a senior vice president of the company and the program’s director. “Being able to offer our employees’ time and talent [to preschools] is what makes the program unique.”
The company is also working to raise public awareness of the potential economic benefits of early-childhood education by supporting print, broadcast, and Internet organizations that distribute information about preschool education to parents nationwide.
Some studies have suggested that preschool education is economically beneficial, because high-quality programs can raise long-term academic achievement, decrease dropout rates, and lay a foundation for future participation in the work world. (“Groups Link Preschool Education, Economic Growth,” Nov. 3, 2004.)
A version of this article appeared in the November 17, 2004 edition of Education Week