How Child Care is Important for Regional Economies
on Tuesday, February 11, 2020
EPI Board Member, Dan Levi of Levi Architecture, was recently invited by the Committee on Small Business to speak in Washington, D.C. for a hearing titled "Taking Care of Business: How Child Care is Important for Regional Economies".
The hearing explored the role of child care in stimulating regional economic growth. Access to child care has a positive impact effect on workforce participation by providing a productive and talented workforce.
“Access to quality and affordable child care is a critical need all over my district and our state,” Congresswoman Finkenauer remarked at the beginning of the hearing. “We must keep working to improve every tool available to increase access. Too many Iowa parents are forced to make the choice to hold back their careers – and their family’s economic opportunity – simply because there is no space left at the child care centers in their community. While some families may be lucky enough to have extended family to help provide care, it’s not right to put folks in a position where that’s the only option.”
In 2017, EPI's Children and Family Services Director, Mary Janssen, co-founded the Black Hawk County Child Care Coalition to address the lack of community awareness and the challenges facing families with children, and how that impacts the community they live in. The coalition was formed by a small group of volunteer community members, including Levi.
"A child care crisis is occurring in Iowa, including Black Hawk County. The waiting lists are in the thousands and it is impacting families and our economy. The coalition aims to attack the problem at the bottom-line that this is a cost issue, a quality control issue, and a recruitment issue", said Dan Levi.
The Coalition has quickly evolved to support communities in Black Hawk and surrounding counties through business consultation, encouraging entrepreneurs, partnerships with secondary education entities, mentorship groups, and engagement with the non-English speaking groups within our communities.
Partnerships, like the one between EPI and Hawkeye Community College, benefit all organizations involved and are given the opportunity to provide a less than market rate cost to families, and provide teachers with an above market rate income with benefits.
Levi brought the work of the coalition forward in hopes of assisting the committee in finding ways that affordable and accessible child care can stimulate the economy. We thank Dan Levi and the Black Hawk County Child Care Coalition for their pioneering work.
To view the full hearing click here.