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employer resources

Family of two parent with two kids laying on a bed.

employers have a crucial role to play to support young children and their families

The Itasca Project is engaging employers in the Little Moments Count social movement. As a cross-sector alliance of employers, the Itasca Project has a pivotal role to play in our collective understanding of the importance and lifelong impact of the first 1,000 days of life, the first three years.


Early experiences in the first 1,000 days build the foundation for future learning, behavior, and health. Investing in the 100,000 Twin Cities families with children under three—particularly the most vulnerable—has significant economic and societal benefits today and in the decades ahead. This investment will also help reduce the racial inequalities historically present in our region. Disparities tied to education and healthcare first appear as early as 18 months due to the need for parents and families to focus on basic needs and babies being exposed to less enriching environments.


As Itasca Project members, we aim to:

• Share the importance of the first 1,000 days to brain development and
  future success

• Adopt family-friendly policies, particularly that support families with
  young children

• Join advocates to support families in greatest need to eliminate disparities
  in our region

Itasca Project First 1,000 Days:
When it Matters Most

March 2021

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Employers who support employees and their children are investing in the Minneapolis-St Paul region’s future success, as well as making a smart business decision.

Everything that children experience affects their ability to realize their potential. This includes nutrition, healthcare, parenting, environmental safety, and thousands of other things that physically shape the connections in the brain. Research has shown that in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, 80% of the foundation of the brain is built based on the experiences of the child.

Human brain development graph

Healthy brain development sets a foundation for the future of that child -  affecting their health, ability to learn, ability to function in the community, and economic success

Family gathered around a book.

Supports for healthy brain development are needed not just for children, but for their families – and the majority of adults in those families who are workers


of mothers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region are working – one of the highest percentages in the nation

Employers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region can play an important role to support their employees, their children along with all families in the region by:

Open Book Icon

Sharing the story of early childhood development

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Adopting family-friendly policies, practices, and resources to support employees and their children

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Support advocates for increased funding and better service delivery for families in greatest need

The Itasca Project

An employer-led alliance drawn together by an interest in new and better ways to address regional issues that impact our future economic competitiveness and quality of life in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. 

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additional information & resources

see what other
employers are doing

See first-hand successful case studies from other employers in

our community.

links to more
helpful resources

Additional links to more helpful information on this topic.

tool kit

Best practices and examples to inspire employers to support their employees and families.

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