We are all in the child care business

National headlines are shining a spotlight on the child care crisis. Once a topic at many dinner tables, child care access and affordability are now the centerpieces of a national conversation about the economy. We’re still talking about it at the dinner table, too.

Parents are worried about balancing concerns of income loss and career advancement with how to afford child care. Education experts, who tout the positive lifelong effects of quality early education, which is a critical component of quality child care, are warning of the long-term detriments of learning loss.

Employers are worried, too. Labor shortages and talent retention threaten many industries, and lack of child care is a key barrier to employment for some.

The problem is complex and the solutions myriad, but with public policy changes, philanthropy and intentional employer practices, our child care woes could become a thing of the past.

We applaud the commitment of public officials working to address this issue through policy proposals and increased budget allocations for early childhood initiatives.

Though we may balk at the high price tag, research shows that for every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education, society gains up to $7.30 in economic returns. Conversely, a lack of affordable, reliable child care takes a major toll on the economy. A recent Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation study estimated Massachusetts loses roughly $2.7 billion each year due to inadequate child care.

PNC Grow Up Great and other initiatives

Since 2004, PNC has championed access to high-quality early childhood education through its signature philanthropic initiative, PNC Grow Up Great. Now a $500 million commitment, Grow Up Great has benefitted more than 8 million children nationwide. In Boston, PNC has supported program quality, innovation and expansion with grants to Ellis Early Learning Center and Neighborhood Villages, among others.

We’re not the only business leaders for whom this issue resonates. Last year, the Massachusetts Business Coalition for Early Education and Care formed as an advocacy group to promote accessible and affordable early education for Massachusetts workers. With 83 member companies, representing more than 270,000 employees and 20 business association partners, it is evident the business community cares about this issue.

Beyond public investment and philanthropy lies the opportunity for employers to address the needs of working parents. To that end, PNC is launching the Best Place for Working Parents initiative for the state of Massachusetts. Through this effort, Massachusetts joins the growing national network of Best Place for Working Parents businesses proving family-friendly is business friendly – through a first-of-its-kind, three-minute online self-assessment highlighting the top 10 research-backed policies proven to benefit working parents and businesses’ bottom line.

Regularly recognized by Seramount as a “Best Company for Dads” and one of the nation’s 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers, PNC’s benefits are as varied as the families we employ. Resources include subsidized short-term child care, support to find long-term child care and child care discounts. Through backup care services, employees have access to a reliable resource when unexpected circumstances arise.

Recently, the Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission recommended engaging the business community to identify and promote employer best practices and explore incentives to support additional benefits. The Massachusetts Business Coalition initiated a working group to delve into this topic.

Our region is a hub of excellence, often at the forefront of reimagining policy and developing innovative solutions to whatever societal challenge we’re facing – new health care systems, scientific and medical discoveries, disruptive technology and progressive social policy.

With bright minds, a spirit of ingenuity, a culture of corporate social responsibility and a moral compass, Massachusetts can lead the way.

 

Read the original article at: https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2023/04/13/we-are-all-in-the-child-care-business.html?ana=RSS&s=article_search

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