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Chamber CEO, Ainsworth to address child care at foundation event

The event, “Clearing the Path: The Business Case for Child Care,” will be held on Jan. 25 in Birmingham.

The Women's Foundation of Alabama.

The Women’s Foundation of Alabama, recognized as the state’s primary philanthropic and advocacy organization for women, has announced the keynote speakers for their upcoming event, “Clearing the Path: The Business Case for Child Care.” This event, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, will be held on January 25, in Birmingham.

“Clearing the Path” serves as the Women’s Foundation of Alabama’s annual platform to showcase groundbreaking research. It brings together policymakers, business and community leaders to foster dynamic discussions on women’s roles in Alabama’s future prosperity. The 2024 research report focuses on the profound impact of child care on Alabama’s economy and families.

Headlining this year’s event is Suzanne P. Clark, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Clark, with her extensive background in business and as a champion of free enterprise, will share insights on fostering a vibrant national economy. Following her, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth will speak, offering his perspective on Alabama’s workforce requirements. Ainsworth will delve into potential solutions for the state’s low labor force participation rate, highlighting the importance of investing in quality, affordable, and accessible child care.

Clark, a director on two corporate boards and a former business owner, leads the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Her private sector experience significantly influences her role at the U.S. Chamber, the world’s largest business organization. Clark is known for her global perspective and commitment to free enterprise, advocating for policies that bolster business growth and opposing those that hinder America’s economic strength.

Ainsworth, a family man and entrepreneur, has a diverse background as a small business owner, farmer, and youth pastor. Co-founding the Dream Ranch hunting lodge and owning several real estate and agriculture businesses, Ainsworth has a strong connection to Alabama’s business and agricultural sectors. Elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2014, he has been an advocate for education and business, leading to his successful election as lieutenant governor in 2018 and re-election in 2022.

Lillian Brand, Vice President of External Affairs at the Women’s Foundation of Alabama, emphasizes the critical role of child care in workforce development. “As Alabama strides forward in job creation, the scarcity of quality child care stands as a significant barrier, affecting economic progress statewide,” she states. “With data-driven solutions, we are poised to collaborate with elected officials, businesses, and civic leaders to overcome these challenges and establish impactful public policies.”

The Women’s Foundation of Alabama envisions a thriving economy where barriers for women are eliminated. Join them at the 2024 Clearing the Path event on January 25, 2024, at the Harbert Center in Birmingham. Tickets and tables can be purchased online.

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The event is set for the evening of Feb. 9 at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel.