As discussion around SB446: Child Care: The Workforce Behind the Workforce Act of 2022 continues to grow, I think it is essential that we highlight the crucial role child care plays in the vitality of our workforce.
We continue to see the prevalence of the workforce struggles across the country, and we tend to overlook one underlying cause – families don’t have access to the child care they need to be able to pursue available opportunities. It is very simple, access to child care directly benefits the availability of qualified workforce; availability of qualified workforce directly benefits every organization seeking to fill open positions.
The child care industry faces a myriad of challenges; high turnover resulting from low pay and lack of access to health benefits, increased need for care by families returning to the workforce, and high expenses related to providing the high-quality care that children and families deserve. The reality is that we need to do more to support the child care industry, and SB446 is a step in the right direction. SB446 directs the Department of Health and Human Services to foster sustainable child care opportunities for working families and businesses. This includes the support of recruitment and retention of the staff needed to keep classrooms open for children, amongst a number of other important initiatives.
As we begin to recognize the crucial role that the child care industry plays in supporting the workforce today, we must also acknowledge that high-quality child care plays an important role in creating the strong foundation children need to be successful in the years to come. They are our future workforce.
To learn more about this important topic, I invite you to listen to the conversation I had with recent guest, Jackie Cowell, on my radio show. Jackie is the Executive Director of Early Learning New Hampshire, a nonprofit organization in NH that champions effective policy and advocates for the important role high-quality child care plays in our communities.
Take time to explore SB446 as discussions continue amongst our legislators. We can all benefit from learning more about this industry and the role it plays in the growth of the workforce we need.