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New Programs to Expand Childcare Access Could Reduce Workforce Inequality

A January 2023 report from the World Economic Forum found that “The pandemic negatively impacted women much more than men: while women constituted approximately 39% of the global workforce, they suffered 54% of the job losses.” A study from the University of Arkansas found that one factor may be that women bear a disproportionate amount of childcare responsibilities, which is impacted by decreasing access to affordable childcare. Governor Parson hopes that innovation between businesses and childcare providers can help solve some of the problem in Missouri and he has some resources to help.

Last Thursday Governor Parson a new Innovation Start-Up Grant to support partnerships between eligible child care provider and businesses and/or community partners to collaborate on new projects to expand child care in the local communities.

In the press release Governor Parson was quoted to say "Access to quality childcare for Missouri families is critical to achieving our workforce development goals. Missouri businesses consistently rank childcare access as one of the largest hurdles to recruiting and retaining skilled workers. This grant opportunity will allow more businesses and providers to work together to start new childcare programs in their communities.”

The amount of funding available is dependent upon the facility capacity, the hours of operation, and a commitment in matching funds or in-kind contributions from businesses and/or community partners supporting the new childcare program. If awarded, the provider must become a licensed childcare program with children enrolled and attending by March 31, 2024.

For businesses that are feeling the labor pinch and see an opportunity now would be a great time to reach out to other community partners to identify potential opportunities for innovation and collaboration. Expanding childcare access is good for the community now and can have a positive impact on being a strong family friendly community for years to come.