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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A group of Maine business leaders is partnering with the child care center Educare Central Mainein Waterville to put more money into early childhood education.

The new effort,Elevate Maine, seeks to raise $10 million over the next 9 months. That money will go towards raising awareness of the lifelong benefits of early childhood education, and towards allowing mentors from the Educare center to teach child care providers in other parts of the state. Elevate Mainealso will offer scholarships to low income children in three Maine communities to go to high quality early childhood programs. The progress of those students will be tracked to prove the link between high quality education from birth through age 5 and success in later life.

Jim Clair, Co-Chair of the Maine Early Learning Investment Groupand CEO of Goold Health Systems said, "We want to say based on these results, where we can demonstrate a return on investment. This entire idea needs to be elevated further through Maine state government, the federal government. Others need to get involved."

Elevate Maine has not yet chosen the three communities where it will offer scholarships.