From Where I Sit

  • Share:
No doubt, the gathering of several hundred business leaders this morning for the PA Early Childhood Learning Economic Conference in Harrisburg has a lot to do with state budget negotiations which are moving into their ‘interesting stage.’ In exactly two dozen days, our state is mandated to have in place a balanced budget. The preliminary hearings are over, and any day now a piece of legislation will be amended with say, a few hundred additional pages, and there you have it—our 2023-2024 PA Budget.
Oh, if it were that easy. Details aside, for the moment, this year’s Early Learning conference titled: Our Economy Runs on Child Care, kicked off this morning with an address given by Lt. Gov. Austin Davis. Last evening, I was honored to speak at a press conference, along with two PA Senators (Stefano R-32 and Schwank D-11) and two PA House members (Labs R-143 and Harkins D-01), and my topic was: ‘The workforce behind the workforce.’
This is a phrase which you’ve read in this column earlier this year or possibly in past years. My point is that every person in our workforce here in the Greater Susquehanna Valley has someone, maybe even a lot of ‘someone’s,’ whose job is to make sure that they can go to and stay at work. Not all of us depend on childcare, but we all depend on someone who makes it possible to have and to keep our job.
Quickly, here are just a few statistics to highlight the importance of quality childcare:
  • The lack of quality childcare is costing our state $6.65 billion annually according to a recent economic survey.
  • In this same survey, 60% of parents reported being late to work, leaving work early, or missing full days of work due to childcare problems.
  • Further, one-third of parents reduced their work hours or switched from full-time to part-time because of access to insufficient childcare.
  • Finally, those parents completing the survey indicated that 38% of them had turned down a job and additionally one-third had declined career-enhancing education/training because of a lack of childcare.
  • In our own biennial survey of Chamber members, 27% of your fellow members had lost an employee in the past year because they couldn’t find quality childcare. It’s heartbreaking to learn that statewide, 18% of employers have had to fire an employee because of issues arising from their insufficient access to childcare. 
Expanding access to high quality childcare is just one way that your Chamber is working to assure that our best days lie just ahead.
Leave a Comment
* Required field
Website by MoJo Active