2018 Milestones

Influencing Policy

Early Matters Greater Austin advocates for public policy and funding that increases access to high quality early learning programs as a wise investment of public dollars with a strong return on the investment.  At both a state and local level we support policies that promote both higher quality and efficiency for high quality full day early childhood education programs (including both PreK and child care). Highlights from 2018 include:

Co-Host of Legislative Breakfast in May with Early Matters Dallas and Early Matters Houston

o   Outcome: Increase awareness about EMGA and its initiative

Policy Committee members testify before the TX School Finance Committee about the importance of investing in public Pre-K

o   Outcomes: Public School Finance Committee recommends measures targeted at increasing 3rd grade reading scores and the State  Board of Education recommends funding full-day public Pre-K

At the request of EMGA, Senator Watson encourages Gov. Abbott to apply for the Federal Pre-K Block Grant

o   Outcome: TEA and TWC submitted a joint application and Texas was awarded $1,789,455 for a state-level needs assessments and planning to optimize existing early childhood education (ECE) resources.

EMGA and early childhood stakeholders testify at Austin City Council in support of several Pre-K Working Group Task Force recommendations to be included in the COA budget

o   Outcomes: City of Austin allocates $75,000 for Economic Development Consultant to research economic development strategies to generate high-quality early learning opportunities, and approves funding for eight new Pre-K3 classrooms for AISD.

o   The City of Austin incorporated equitable access to quality Early Childhood Education into its 2023 Strategic Plan and will measure the number and percentage of children enrolled in quality Early Childhood Education programs as a key metric.

The Austin American Statesman publishes EMGA response to September article about struggles to find child care for working families with to focus attention on the plight of Austin families

Partner with Children at Risk and the Austin Community Foundation in a press conference with Mayor Adler and Council Member Garza to highlight the need for high-quality child care as an economic development driver for women in TX and Austin

o   Outcome: EMGA profiled as the convener of business leaders making the link between economic development message high-quality early education and takeaways from report are picked up by local media outlets

Initiate outreach and partnership with state leaders

o   Outcomes: Host an intimate evening with the Austin Delegation as introduction and relationship cultivation and position EMGA as resource and ally for the legislative session

·         Initial meeting with Texas Workforce Commissioner Robert Thomas Positions EMGA as local resource to the public representative

Promoted the role business plays in supporting early education and care in Austin at Leadership Austin’s Engage Breakfast Panel: Quality Child Care and Work Support

o   Outcomes: Elevates EMGA as the business voice convening stakeholders around high-quality early education and the toolkit is promoted as a valuable resource to employers


Family Friendly Workplaces

We encourage Greater Austin Area businesses to adopt family friendly workplace practices as a baseline for improving conditions for young children and families in our community using our family-friendly workplace toolkit.

EMGA researches, plans, drafts, and publishes Austin’s first Family Friendly Workplace Toolkit to encourage Greater Austin Area businesses to adopt family friendly workplace practices as a baseline for improving conditions for young children and families in our community while meeting business goals for recruitment and retention.

o   Outcomes:  The planning process yielded new collaborations with organizations such as EPIC and HealthLinks in Colorado, identified additional local business advocates for early childhood, and ultimately secured the endorsement of the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Austin Statesman publishes investigative series “Unwatched”

o   Outcome:  EMGA’s connection and insight is a resource to authors and the Family Friendly Workplace Toolkit is highlighted as a solution in Bridget Grumet’s opinion piece printed on 12/12/18


Innovation

Early Matters Greater Austin seeks to establish the Greater Austin area as a region positioned to incubate, pilot, and scale innovative solutions to challenges of access and affordability in the early childhood sector.  Early Matters Greater Austin will work collaboratively with representatives from the business, health, education and philanthropic sector to create an early childhood innovation hub in Greater Austin. From a business perspective, this will help ensure that public investments are well-managed, coordinated, and resources are invested for maximum impact.

Research into the idea of fostering innovation in the early childhood sector resulted in connections with potential national partners including Gary Community Investments and Promise Venture Studio.

Participated in Early Futures, the first-of-its-kind gathering of over 200 leaders throughout the sector who understand that the early childhood years are a critical time for new investments in our nation’s most precious resource, our children

o   Outcomes:  Austin is positioned to partner with Promise Venture Studio to become an innovation hub for incubating, piloting and scaling innovative ideas.  Potential local partners include St. David’s Foundation, Dell Medical School and Capital Factory.