By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Business leaders will host an economic summit later in July to look at how early childhood development could be the solution to the state's financial prosperity.

"Early childhood development is the beginning of a person's potential in life," said Pat Potts, childhood development expert. "Eighty-five percent of the brain develops the first two to three years of life."

Pat is part of the economic summit that will bring business and state leaders together in Oklahoma City. The focus will be how to get children ready for the future to become successful employees.

"Parents and childcare providers have a huge influence on that child's potential that means on their emotional, social, educational development," Pat said.

Pat said she would like to see more of our tax dollars spent on early childhood development programs rather than in the prisons and on welfare.

"When they are not ready for school, they often end up failing in school, and of course the cost to our society is huge," Pat said.

Ray Potts, Pat's husband and local business owner, said he sees all too often how a lack of education impacts the workforce.

"In excess of 50 percent of people who apply for jobs are not qualified for the job," Ray said.

Ray admitted the current problem will not change overnight, but he hopes the upcoming summit will jump start the state into a brighter economic future.

"We want a workforce that is bright, ready to go, and productive," Ray said.

The economic summit will be on July 27th at the Skirvin Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.