|The Need:||High-quality early learning and elementary schooling for at-risk children|
|The Innovators:||CAI, Inc., CAI Academic Learning Academy, and the Lehigh Valley Children's Center|
Based in Allentown with a global footprint, technology services firm CAI takes an entrepreneurial approach to expanding high-quality early learning and creating a continuum of educational quality. At its core is Education4Kids, an initiative investing in educational programs serving at-risk, inner-city children in the communities where the company does business.
The Need: In the formative prekindergarten years, children need high-quality experiences that lay the foundation for lifetimes of learning and development. And yet, 106,000 eligible 3- and 4-year-olds in Pennsylvania don’t have access to high-quality, publicly funded prekindergarten.
The Business Investment: CAI has more than 40 years of experience in providing solutions by pairing talent and technology. A privately held company with 6,500 employees, the firm is committed to building up potential in everyone through work opportunities for the neurodivergent and educational opportunities for the underserved. Early literacy efforts have included partnering with local child care providers to provide parents with the tools and resources needed to be their children’s first and most lasting teachers, and to support the Waterford UPSTART pilot, which provides early education to unserved families through support, technology, and internet services.
The Innovation: In 2014, CAI recognized that vulnerable children need a continuum of quality that follows them into their school years, so they created the CAI Learning Academy in Allentown. The CAI Learning Academy is a private, elementary school for children in grades K-5. In 2022, CAI worked with the Lehigh Valley Children’s Center to offer an onsite Pre-K Counts program for children ages 3 to 5, offering a high-quality experience backed by high standards in academic, physical, and social-emotional development. Additionally, they are also providing scholarships for graduating 5th graders to local Catholic schools, when and where families want to attend.
How It’s Done: The CAI Learning Academy offers a high-quality, holistic education, layering strong academics with technology, independent and small-group projects, and Steven Covey’s “Leader in Me” framework.
How It’s Funded: While the CAI Learning Academy receives some outside funds and donations, the Academy is almost fully funded by CAI dollars. Meanwhile, the Pre-K program receives support through funding from state grants.
The Impact: The CAI Learning Academy provides a customized, nurturing learning experience that prepares students to be the leaders and builders of tomorrow.
Get Involved: Most Pennsylvania employers want to help working families address child care needs, but few realize that resources are available to help. The Case Studies in Caring series explores award-winning business initiatives created with available resources and are custom-crafted to meet local child care needs for communities and workforces.
To learn how your business can join the movement to invest in caring, contact the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org and find an online toolkit for businesses to support working families and child care at Investments in Caring PA, www.investmentsincaringpa.com.