Child Care is Essential to Illinois’ Workforce Productivity and Economy
Lack of adequate care likely costs the state over $2 billion annually
By Howard Meyer, Executive Director, Skokie (Illinois) Chamber of Commerce
This spring, Illinois lawmakers are entertaining a number of proposals related to child care assistance for working families. These include:
- Increasing the program’s overall resources and support,
- Expanding income-eligibility levels (SB1679/HB3567) to help more struggling parents, and for longer periods of time,
- Stepping-up communications and outreach to parents who might not even realize they qualify for such help (SB1321), and
- Providing greater support for the construction and renovation of early childhood facilities (SR85/HR87).
These ideas are good for more than simply the working parents who need care for their kids while on the job. From my discussions with employers, I know child care is also essential to the success of businesses and our economy, as a whole.
Common-sense measures to strengthen child care assistance are not only welcome, they’re vital to our workforce and economic well-being.
A new report from the ReadyNation network of business leaders notes that the lack of stable, accessible child care totals a staggering, $57 billion drag on our U.S. economy each year. That price tag reflects factors that range from lost job opportunities for parents to diminished productivity, when workers are scrambling to cover child care needs.
In Illinois alone, based on our Gross State Product and our share of the U.S. population, these annual costs could come to about $2.4 billion. And these state and national figures relate only to the lack of care for infants and toddlers – a fraction of what the total economic fallout would be if we also factored-in child care for kids older than age 3.
Our state is still recovering from deep cuts in child care eligibility, and – despite restorations – program enrollment remains tens of thousands of children below typical levels. Common-sense measures to strengthen child care assistance are not only welcome, they’re vital to our workforce and economic well-being.
Based on a wealth of research demonstrating the significance of child care to our workforce and economy, ReadyNation’s business leaders support efforts to provide more working households with the child care help they need – and adding to the outreach efforts necessary to ensure they know about and can meaningfully access such assistance.
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