Blog | Event | March 17, 2021

Panelists Join a Discussion about Child Care in Wisconsin

Business leaders, child care experts, and a working parent join a panel discussion to address child care in Wisconsin

Yesterday, ReadyNation held a virtual panel discussion to release a new report entitled, “Want to Strengthen Wisconsin’s Economy? Fix the Child Care Crisis.” The report unpacks a profound and growing problem in Wisconsin and beyond: the lack of affordable, high-quality child care, particularly for infants and toddlers.

The virtual event included the following speakers: ReadyNation member Paul Jadin, former President of the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) and former Mayor of Green Bay; ReadyNation member Dean Gruner, MD, MMM, former President & CEO of ThedaCare; Renae Henning, Administrator of Community Care Preschool and Child Care, Inc. in Beaver Dam; and Melissa Biel, a working parent with children at Community Care Preschool and Child Care, Inc. ReadyNation Deputy Director Jeffrey Connor-Naylor moderated the discussion. The speakers shared both their personal and professional experiences, offering insight into the state of our child care system and its connection to the larger economy.

Following Jeffrey Connor-Naylor’s introductory remarks, Dean Gruner addressed the panel to discuss his thoughts on child care and its effect on the economy. “Our state must also do more to make child care accessible, affordable, and of high quality so that working families and their children can reap the short- and long-term benefits that come with such care—and so our economy and workforce will remain strong,” he said.

Paul Jadin spoke next to offer his expertise as both a business leader and former public servant. “We must support access to affordable, high-quality child care, not only because of its benefits to children and parents but also because this access will be a key ingredient to our near-term economic recovery,” he said.

After Paul Jadin, Melissa Biel talked about how the child care crisis impacts her life as a working parent. “High-quality child care has made a meaningful and positive impact on my family. All working parents need the same opportunity for their families,“ she shared.

To provide insight on how important child care is for children, Renae Henning spoke of the skills children learn in child care programs. “Providing children with high-quality, supportive environments when they’re in their earliest years is critically important,” she said. “High-quality child care can help lay a foundation for cognitive and social-emotional development that creates lifelong benefits.”

The event underscored how invaluable child care is in Wisconsin. Employers, working parents, and children need high-quality and affordable child care programs to be successful. As lawmakers consider what post-pandemic economic repair efforts look like, they must consider and prioritize supporting and strengthening the child care sector.

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