Trust is a big hurdle and the importance of showing up cannot be understated. Admit when you don’t know something and learn from those who have been there and do the work day in and day out.
average annual cost of childcare
Based on data presented in the 2018 Opportunity Lost Report, the state of Georgia loses in excess of $100 million in revenue due to employee absences and turnover related to lapses in childcare, amounting to around $1.75 billion in lost activity in the state’s economy. This data doesn’t touch on losses associated with tardiness, early departure from the work day, or lapses in job training or continuing education resulting from an employee’s absence.
The average cost for high-quality childcare in Georgia is almost the same price as tuition at one of the state’s flagship universities at over $9,000 per year. How do you build a culture across a state or region where supporting family-friendly workplaces and state policies that provide additional supports and incentives for families can be seen as a pathway to developing economic resiliency?
There is no silver bullet. The Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS), and their partners across the early education network understand that there are many layers to a solution for this challenge. The right supports, resources, and incentives are required across a variety of areas and those needs change from community to community.
Georgia’s political and business leaders have an opportunity to convene and unite local businesses, childcare providers, school administrators, and other community leaders to identify what works for their community and advocate with one voice for those solutions. Together they have created a model for business leadership to increase focus on early childhood education as an economic issue at the state policy level.
To create an effective movement, the coalition started by establishing a shared understanding about how to best support the resiliency of Georgia’s workforce: supports, resources, and incentives are required across a variety of areas to ensure every family has access to quality, affordable childcare.
Those areas include:
- Direct support for working parents
- After-school care for young children
- Teacher training and support
- Incentives for business to invest in their employees and communities
- Wrap-around services for parents who are in post-secondary and work-training programs
The plan for action was focused on coordinated advocacy for state and local policy changes that took many forms. In addition to sharing data, the Metro Atlanta Chamber actively participates in broad coalitions supporting early education, meets regularly with state agencies managing early education issues across the state, and provides the voice of the business community in education campaigns for state policy makers and legislators on the importance of high-quality early education to industry and the state’s economy.
Through these actions the regional chamber has developed and continues to work on building trusted partnerships between the business community, local chambers of commerce, and state and local government.
1 in 5 parents
reported missing more than a full week (6+ days) of work in the past 6 months due to childcare challenges
economic loss related to employee absence and turnover due to childcare challenges
1 in 20 parents
have been fired, a population that is disproportionately rural, single women in low-income households
The state of Georgia has seen an increased focus on early education at the state policy level. State lawmakers know and speak publicly about businesses that are interested in, and supportive of, strong quality childcare policies. In addition, the partnerships that have been established as a result of this work, such as the partnership between the Metro Atlanta Chamber and GEEARS, have created an increased interest in, and the capacity for, continuing data collection and reporting on these issues across the state.
Next steps? The Metro Atlanta Chamber and GEEARS coalition look forward to gathering data from the business community to start to track how the region’s businesses are using family-friendly policies to support a resilient workforce. The coalition will use this information, along with similar work in post-secondary institutions, and continued research into questions generated from the Opportunity Lost report, to partner with other coalitions and state agencies to advocate for more family-friendly policies at state, local, business and post-secondary levels.