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Why supporting the childcare industry boosts the economy

The pandemic has shone a light on the child care industry and how it fits into our overall economy.

Data showed, even before the pandemic, that child care issues were a barrier to labor market participation. Whether it was the sheer cost of childcare that made it financially difficult for individuals to continue working, or the lack of available childcare facilities that met the needs of parents, childcare was a problem for many working parents.

When pandemic-related closures caused more children to return home with their parents, it severely disrupted demand for childcare and some facilities were forced to close. . Child care business owners have been placed in the midst of a constant push and pull.

Changes were needed. And the state of Michigan, lawmakers and the business community have taken notice.

Attracting and retaining the workforce is central to all child care conversations. The industry cannot sustain or grow to meet the demands of families if there are not enough workers in the system. We need to ensure childcare is a viable career path for those interested in working with young children and a sustainable business model for owners to be profitable.

Michigan State’s Tri-Share program is an example of an innovative program that provides for a three-way split of child care costs (for eligible employers and employees) to be shared between the state, the employee and the employer. This alleviates some of the expense burden and allows parents to enter the labor market more freely.

Additionally, US bailout funds have been well used to retain and motivate existing child care providers and train new entrants into the field. Investing in child care companies is a clear sign of the importance they play in our future.

On the small business side, we have witnessed the power of strength in numbers. The Childcare Providers Association of Michigan uses the collective voice of its members to increase industry influence and works directly with the Governor’s Office, legislative and regulatory departments (such as the new Child Care Bureau within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs) to strengthen the industry and attract new child care providers.

Michigan is well positioned to be a leader in child care solutions through bipartisan efforts to emphasize child care as a key component of economic success. This commitment to working together has been transformational for Michigan and our business community.

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