Employer Supported Childcare | Leadership Breakfast 01.25.23
Sponsored by ITU Absorb Tech
Emily McFarland, Mayor of Watertown, Tina Crave, CEO of the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation, Dr. Matthew Davis, CEO of Maranatha Baptist University, and Jon Lange, CEO of the Glacial Area YMCA, came together on January 25, 2023, to speak to the Watertown community and Maranatha faculty, staff, and students about the need for employer supported childcare.
Mayor McFarland began the session by addressing the importance of quality childcare within communities. She acknowledged the concerns she has personally heard from parents about the lack of childcare in both Watertown and the surrounding communities. She then turned the platform over to Tina Crave.
Crave explained that parents can’t afford quality childcare because of the high wages daycares must pay to teachers. She believes that employer supported childcare could be the answer to this problem. Crave explained that this service will not only benefit parents but will also benefit businesses.
She showed a graph that demonstrated an 8% decrease in the workforce of both Jefferson County and Dodge County. Crave argued that insufficient childcare options have been a major contributor to this labor shortage. With the average family paying $19,000 a year per child in childcare alone, both parents can’t afford to work. Therefore, employer supported childcare will help businesses attract and maintain quality employees. The platform was then turned over to Dr. Davis.
Dr. Davis discussed how Kiddie Kampus, Maranatha’s own daycare, has provided families with affordable and quality childcare. He acknowledged, however, that Kiddie Kampus can only remain affordable for families because of the contributions made by Maranatha Baptist University. Quality daycares can’t stand on their own and remain affordable.
Dr. Davis explained that even with help from Maranatha, Kiddie Kampus faces its own challenges. He pointed out that Kiddie Kampus has 97 children on a waiting list because they are only licensed to care for 81 children at a time. Kiddie Kampus has room for more children, but not enough teachers to care for the children. He explained that government regulations on who can be a lead teacher and finding people who are willing to work for lower wages is a serious challenge. This challenge is experienced by all daycare facilities in the community.
Tina Crave then laid out some possible options that would help families afford childcare including:
- State/Federal Aid
- Childcare County Stabilization
- Partner-up Grants
- Employer Supported Childcare
She believes that employer supported childcare is the answer. She shared a story about a Wisconsin company that has successfully invested in childcare for their employees and has experienced immense success. Crave then turned over the platform to Jon Lange.
Lange explained that the YMCA is working on opening a new facility that will have space for a daycare. He told the audience that this could be an option for local businesses that want to provide childcare for their employees. Lange laid out his plan for a Partner-Up Program. Under this program, employers will cover 7% of childcare costs which will benefit employees, and the community. He argued that it has to be a partnership between businesses and the community to make this plan a reality.
Tina Crave then challenged the community to get involved. She ended the breakfast with this quote:
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King
Watch the recording of this breakfast here.
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