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Berks Early Learning Coalition (BELC)

Awareness. Advocacy. Action.

PURPOSE – To ensure all Berks County pre-kindergarten children who are considered at risk have access to high-quality early learning education

MISSION – To promote Berks County business partnerships and community connections that support pre-kindergarten early learning

VISION – All Berks County children will be fully prepared to enter school ready to learn


  • Publish articles to build awareness and advocacy.
  • Review and revise early childhood data to accurately capture underserved students.
  • Host a seminar regarding financing child care and early learning (partner with ELIC).
  • Explore program options to enhance partnerships and impact in Berks County.

Steering Committee


  • Julia H. KleinC. H. Briggs
  • Alan J. OttingerQIC, Inc.

Committee Members

  • District Attorney John T. AdamsCounty of Berks
  • Dave CapitanoBaker Tilly
  • Toni EckertAlvernia University
  • Rep. Mark GillenPA House of Representatives
  • Dr. Jill HackmanBerks County Intermediate Unit
  • Bradley and Barbara HallCommunity Leaders
  • Dr. Solomon LaushBerks Business Education Coalition
  • Andrew PotteigerBrandywine Heights Area School District
  • Rep. Mark RozziPA House of Representatives
  • Dr. Yamil Sanchez RiveraReading School District
  • Sen. Judith L. SchwankPA State Senate
  • Samuel ThomasSt. Daniel's Preschool
  • Tom VoelkerBrandywine Heights Area School District
  • Dr. Karen WangChildren's Health Center / Tower Health
  • Christi WeitzelBerks County Intermediate Unit
  • Kate WilliamsReading Health System

Coalition Liason

  • Ryan RileyEarly Learning Invest Commission
Lynn A. Karoly

A Costly Divide

In 2018, Dr. Lynn Karoly, senior economist for the RAND Corporation and professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, was the keynote speaker for the Berks Early Learning Summit where she spoke on the importance of investing in tomorrow’s workforce.

Her brief, “A Costly Divide: The Economic Impact of Gaps in Student Performance in Pennsylvania” shows the performance divide that exists between subgroups of students across Pennsylvania and the negative impact of those gaps on the Pennsylvania economy. Investing in early childhood programs is one of four areas that she argues would go a long way to closing those gaps. 

Click the image to download a copy of the brief.

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