Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce has released a report to explore the under-recognized role of high-quality childcare in the education and workforce pipeline. By laying the crucial groundwork for tomorrow’s workforce and promoting a strong workforce today, high-quality childcare provides a powerful two-generation approach to building the human capital that a prosperous and sustainable America requires. It supports parents: increasing completion of postsecondary education, raising labor force participation, increasing workforce productivity, and helping business attract and retain talent. And it ensures that children have the chance to develop well and begin kindergarten ready to thrive in school, work, and life.
For American business, advancing high-quality childcare is a winning proposition. It’s a wise investment in America’s future—strengthening business today while building the workforce we’ll depend on tomorrow and for decades to come.
The report outlines 10 things that the business community can do to advance access to high-quality childcare
Join or build an early childhood business coalition to educate and engage peers and the public. Business leaders make powerful public messengers for support of public investment in effective early care and learning programs.
Set the Policy Agenda
Leverage your influence to serve as a public policy advocate for young children. Include childcare in your local business organization's legislative agenda. Sign onto or create a policy statement in support of high-quality childcare.
Make the Business Case
Promote early learning policies as part of the economic development agenda. Help business colleagues and policymakers understand the economic benefits that high-quality childcare brings to states and local communities.
Speak Out for Children
Share your knowledge through speaking engagements, op-eds, and blogs that highlight the impact of high-quality childcare on children, families, local businesses, and regional economic development. Launch a media campaign with local partners to focus public attention on the critical role childcare plays in improved school achievement and a stronger regional economy.
Contribute Through Philanthropy
Invest your philanthropic dollars in organizations and providers that support early care and learning programs for low-income children. Direct corporate social responsibility funds to programs and initiatives that support high-quality childcare, like scholarship programs that help ensure low-income children have access to high-quality programs. Donate materials like books and art supplies to under-resourced local childcare providers.
Lead by Example
Adopt policies that support your employees who have young children. Implement a childcare benefits program and consider establishing an on-site childcare center. Employees who know that their children are in safe, reliable, and high-quality environments are more engaged, productive workers.
Share Your Business Expertise
Use your organization's skills to support the business side of childcare. By providing technical assistance and professional development to childcare business owners, you can increase provider stability and raise the quality of care. Explore setting up a shared-services program that assists a network of childcare providers by pooling and streamlining back-office functions like purchasing, payroll, and billing.
Initiate Local Innovation
Create a team of local business, community, and childcare leaders to explore local challenges and opportunities, identify new partnerships, and develop innovative, community-wide strategies for improving access to and delivery of high-quality child care. Collaborate with local organizations to launch pilot, "proof of concept" models. Investigate options for public-private partnerships and innovative financing mechanisms like pay-for-success and social impact bonds to scale up evidence-based programs with a demonstrated record of success.
Lay the Groundwork for Systemic Change
Work with state or local partners to begin developing a fact base on the existing childcare policy landscape. Evaluate current data systems and the relevance and rigor of your state’s quality rating system to identify strengths and gaps. Building better information on what’s currently in place lays the crucial groundwork for developing longer-term strategies to achieve impact, scale, and sustainability of high-quality childcare.
Make a Site Visit
Take a couple of hours for a visit to a local childcare provider. There's nothing like seeing something in action for getting a new perspective on what's working, what can be improved, and how. Children love visitors, and childcare providers will welcome the interest in and appreciation for their work.