Revitalizing the economy with the help of childcare.

In order to have a strong and growing economy, there are certain basic services that are essential. These include electricity, water, and internet access. However, there is another vital service that is often overlooked: childcare. As experts in workforce development, vocational training and placement, we believe that quality and affordability are the single biggest factors in determining whether workers, especially women with young children, can join the workforce. We recognize that more than half of working mothers are primary educators, and the need for quality childcare has only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, the childcare crisis in Massachusetts is disproportionate, particularly for women. Last year, emergency funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) played a vital role in helping many childcare and early education centers continue to operate. However, with the ARPA funds drying up, we need to close the huge gap in childcare funding. Governor Healy’s proposal for the Fairshare Amendment Fund through the Commonwealth Care for Children (C3) initiative is a step in the right direction. However, childcare providers will still lose thousands of staff to higher-paying competitors if the ARPA fund is not replaced.

One of the biggest challenges facing parents is the crisis of choosing between earning a living and taking care of their children. To address this issue, we are asking Governor Healy to provide employee discounts for childcare. These discounts have proven to be a fair, equitable, and important tool for recruiting and retaining enough workers to ensure that childcare needs are met.

In addition, we encourage all childcare providers to consider using the JVS Boston Quality of Work Benchmark Index (JQBI). The survey allows childcare providers to compare their salaries, benefits, working conditions, and opportunities for advancement with other providers.

By funding early educator care and human resource development, as well as providing opportunities to improve the quality of work for childcare staff, we can ensure a sustainable early education system. We are encouraging residents, employers, businesses, nonprofits, and community leaders to ask the Legislature to approve full funding for the Governor’s C3 initiative. When we properly fund childcare and invest in the training of its professional workforce, we improve the lives of both workers and their families. Ultimately, this will fund one of the most important public utilities that help the economy thrive.

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