A new report says early education programs in Alabama serve more than 192,000 children up to the age of 5.
The report says the industry accounts for nearly 19,000 full-time equivalent jobs with a payroll of nearly $370 million and non-pay roll expenditures of nearly $200 million.
The report was prepared by Auburn University at Montgomery economist Keivan Deravi for the Alabama Partnership for Children.
The partnership's executive director, Gail Piggott, said Monday that she was surprised by the large numbers.
Piggott says the partnership hopes to use the findings to gain support for expanding Alabama's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds, ensuring that programs are inspected for health and safety standards, and establishing a quality rating system for the programs.