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Barriers to Work and the Renewed Emphasis on Childcare

Today is the opening day for a new daycare center at John’s Pharmacy here in Cape Girardeau. The organization wasn’t planning to expand into the childcare business but after struggling to hire and retain employees with young children and recognizing a lack of accessible/affordable childcare in the region they decided the best business move was to take charge and add a new benefit program for the employees, their own daycare.

John’s Pharmacy is on the leading edge of efforts in the business community to tackle an issue that is impacting the recruitment and retention of a qualified workforce in a time where labor shortages are impacting many businesses. According to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey only 39% of respondents who have incomes below $50,000 and children at home said they could afford child care.

Childcare access can also impact those that are able to join the workforce. A report published last December on shared that “according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, around 104,000 Americans in October 2022 reported childcare problems as their main reason for missing work the previous week.”

Last legislative session Governor Parson and Lt. Governor Kehoe with support of several legislators and business advocates promoted additional state programs and investments to support proactive business investment in expanding childcare strategies. While the legislation was not passed this past session, it is said to be a continued priority for work in 2024.

Until then, business should watch and learn from leaders like John’s Pharmacy. New strategies, investments and ideas will be good for business, good for families and good for Southeast Missouri.