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Local business leaders call for change in early childhood education

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- Local business leaders are coming together to advocate for change in early childhood education to help encourage racial equity in the workforce.

Leaders across the state, including Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Joshua Gunn, spoke in a press conference Thursday.

They say three out of five people in Illinois live in what they call "childcare deserts." In minority communities, they say that figure can be even higher.

The aim is to provide more affordable early educational opportunities to these underserved groups and to better tout the benefits for those kids later in life.

"I don't think historically... people really understood the connection between kindergarten readiness and sort of the future outcomes of our community," Gunn said. "But there's a heightened awareness now. People have become really educated about that here in Peoria, and are taking action."

The group released a report today, which can be viewed here for more information.

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Alex Gaul

Alex Gaul joined WEEK 25 News and Heart of Illinois ABC in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. He formerly worked for KPNX-TV and KAET-TV, both in Phoenix, Arizona. The Illinois-native is an alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

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