Poverty Threatens the Workforce

Early childhood education helps the Omaha metro economy

Children are our most valuable resource, but succeeding in school is out of reach for many teenagers. Without college or career after high school, their job prospects are limited. The impact on our future workforce is devestating. How big is the challenge?

30% not proficient 

More than a third of 11th grade students across the Omaha metro are not proficient in reading and math. 

Source: NESA 11th Grade, 2015 Nebraska State of the Schools Report


Smart communities must take action now. Lower-skilled workers lead to a low-spend economy.

The warning signs are all around us. EXAMPLE: With increasing poverty, 50% of Learning Community students are projected to be eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch in the next few years.

Source: FRL, Nebraska Department of Education

Poverty hurts learning

In our Omaha metro neighborhoods, families face problems related to deep poverty that disrupt a child’s learning.

The issues facing children include violence toward mom, a family member in jail, sexual abuse, a family member abusing drugs or alcohol, emotional or physical neglect, and more.

Source: ACE Study, Center for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente

Fact: Poverty hits children the hardest of all.

How does poverty hurt kids?

  • Two or more years behind in school
  • Know fewer words 
  • Academically at risk

The Learning Community and its partners are on track to deliver bold and proven programs. In our local school districts, superintendents support the development of new and innovative programs to challenge poverty and its impact on student achievement.

Early childhood education is our best opportunity to maximize taxpayer dollars. The lasting impact in children's lives benefits our local economy.

Economist Tim Bartik explains how states investing in early childhood education increase earnings and the skills of the labor force.

For a single-parent household with 2 kids...

  • At the poverty line means less than $20,000 a year, or $386 per week to pay bills
  • In deep poverty, or at 50% below the federal poverty standard, that means just $188 per week

Parent University

We're working with the families and the caring adults around every child. They want to be sure their kids love learning! MORE

Childcare Training

Coaching childcare providers to support early learning is a powerful way to help children, starting when they’re babies.


Teaching Teams

Teachers, family liaisons and paraprofessionals work together to help kids make daily improvements in learning. MORE

Future Teachers

In clinical teaching sites, college students learn to teach in early childhood classrooms with guidance from experienced faculty.