Workforces Cannot Be Built without Adequate Childcare

By Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance | | 8.15.23

In pursuit of fostering growth and resilience within the Johnson County and Indianapolis workforces, Aspire supports local employers and their connection to essential childcare resources.

Workforce challenges such as childcare, housing, and mental health have surfaced as critical areas demanding immediate attention. Aspire, through its lobbying firm Torchbearer Public Affairs, has consistently supported programs at the Statehouse that will address those social service and community development areas.

Childcare has emerged as a central concern because it has disproportionately affected women striving to enter or sustain their presence in the workforce.

“We’ve talked with several parents who have chosen to leave the workforce due to the expense of childcare, everyone from entry-level roles to professionals,” said Amanda Rubadue, Vice President of Economic Development at Aspire. “Childcare continues to be a challenge for both the workforce and for our employers, but most especially women.”

Over the last few decades, women with children have become increasingly represented in the workforce which means that issues disproportionately impacting this group, will also have an increasing effect on the entire labor market.

The National Association of Manufacturers found that nationwide parents, specifically mothers, are turning down job opportunities and missing work related to a shortage of school bus drivers.

It is estimated that around 2 million parents made career sacrifices due to difficulties with childcare in 2016 alone.

With so many households relying on two incomes and both parents working, a strong workforce cannot be built anywhere there is underfunded educational or early learning services.

Public programs and tax incentives that make childcare services accessible and available for working families is the kind that the business community should support in the State Legislature.

The obligation to support access to affordable and quality childcare becomes economic as well as moral.

Households are losing sources of income and the economy as a whole experiences a greater unemployment rate when inadequate childcare services become a barrier to enter the workforce.

“Today, many families with young children must make a choice between spending a significant portion of their income on child care, finding a cheaper, but potentially lower-quality care option, or leaving the workforce altogether to become a full-time caregiver,” wrote the Center for American Progress in this report.

“Whether due to high cost, limited availability, or inconvenient program hours, childcare challenges are driving parents out of the workforce at an alarming rate.”

Aspire is seeking to spread awareness about this critical workforce and community development issue both around the business community and in the public policy arena. Aspire also believes supporting local organizations like Early Learning Indiana will help keep working families connected to the childcare resources they need.