CINCINNATI, OHIO, MARCH 2, 2020 – As president and CEO of a locally-based, worldwide manufacturing firm, I am constantly faced with the challenge of hiring skilled talent. My peers in this and other industries are faced with similar issues. However, in my role as board chair of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, I am pleased that we recognized more than 15 years ago, the need to support the growth and development of a highly effective step in creating our talent pipeline: kindergarten readiness.

Since that time, United Way, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) and Innovations (the community research arm of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital) have annually evaluated kindergarten readiness rates of CPS children and, more importantly, have come to understand that access to high-quality preschool is a main driver to a child’s early success in school and life. This became the rationale for building the case for what is now the Cincinnati Preschool Promise.

As a result of this data partnership, Cincinnati had the unique opportunity to conduct a longitudinal study demonstrating the long-term effects of kindergarten readiness. This newly released, landmark study tracked over 2,100 CPS children from kindergarten through high school graduation. Read more.

Steve Shifman is president and CEO of Blue Ash-based Michelman Co. and board chair of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati.