At the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation, marketing our community as a business location is one of our core functions. Corporate decision makers tell us that the quality of education and relevant workforce training are key to their business location and expansion decisions. That’s why we are focused on how the talent pipeline – our future workforce – is being educated, trained and developed locally. The news is encouraging. From pre-K to college, students are being prepared for the modern workforce and the well-paying careers available in Manatee County and our region. Let’s start with early learning. Studies show that the most crucial years of learning take place before a child is old enough to enter school. And if a child is not a proficient reader by the end of third grade, that child is much less likely to succeed in school and in the workforce. In Manatee County, a program called Soar in 4 gives parents the skills and materials to help them become their young child’s first and best literacy teacher. Soar in 4 is funded by private donations and community sources. It is not tax supported or funded by the School District of Manatee County. You can learn more about the program and its impact on children and families at soarin4.org/impact.