March 16, 2023 | Content provided by Family Forward NC
Employers across North Carolina want to attract and retain the best employees, and they want those employees to be happy and healthy. Yet the U.S. is facing a massive talent shortage that will result in a deficit of millions of workers by 2030, and a child care crisis coupled with lack of supports like paid leave mean pregnant workers and working parents and caregivers—especially women—are disproportionately forced to change jobs or leave the workforce entirely or are unable to rejoin the workforce after giving birth.
For children, our future workforce, there is a critical window of time for brain development during the earliest years of life. In fact, the first 2,000 days of a child’s life are so defining that by the time that child turns eight, his or her third-grade reading outcomes can predict future academic achievement and career success. Decades of research have established that children need supportive and supported families and communities to build strong brains, along with health and development on track from birth and high-quality birth-through-age eight learning environments with regular attendance.
At Book Harvest, we are committed to the health and well-being of our employees, their families, and children across North Carolina. Which is why we became a Family Forward NC Certified Employer! Family Forward NC Employer Certifications, issued by the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation’s (NCECF) Family Forward NC initiative, designate employers that offer policies and practices that support the health and well-being of working families and children.
Family Forward NC uses NCECF’s groundbreaking Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Measures of Success and Action Frameworks, along with guidance from medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and guidance from other early childhood organizations, such as the Child Care Services Association and the North Carolina Breastfeeding Association, to determine the standards for certification.
Family-friendly workplaces have a competitive advantage. They attract and retain more top talent, and their employees are more productive and more committed. Plus, family-friendly employers benefit from reduced employee health care costs, a healthier work environment, and fewer employee absences.
For children and families, the benefits of family-friendly workplaces are numerous and long-lasting. They include positive impacts on health, development and well-being, financial stability, and future career success and economic mobility. Children whose parents have access to family-friendly benefits receive much-needed support and time with their parents during the most critical years of brain development. Pregnant workers and parents and caregivers who have access to family-friendly benefits also have improved health outcomes and are happier and more productive at work.
We’re proud to be a Family Forward NC Certified Employer. We’re also proud members of the Durham community, and we recognize that the more family-friendly workplaces we have here, the better for children and families. We encourage other employers to check out the resources available to them through Family Forward NC’s Guide to Family Forward Workplaces, at www.familyforwardnc.com, and begin their own journey toward certification.
Together, we can continue to ensure North Carolina is prosperous and resilient; working parents and caregivers are supported; and our state’s children have a strong foundation for academic and career success in the future.