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Giving Compass' Take:
• Crawfordsville, Indiana is working to improve child care options as an attraction for skilled labor that employers need to drive economic development.
• How can philanthropy boost economic growth by improving child care options?
• Find out why more than half child care workers receive public assistance.
In the small city of Crawfordsville, Indiana, Mayor Todd Barton has traced the local workforce shortage back to a surprising problem: the lack of preschools, daycares, and after-school programs.
In his two terms as mayor, he has been pitching and promoting Crawfordsville, a blue-collar city of about 16,000 people that serves as the economic hub for a rural area some 50 miles west of Indianapolis. He has traveled to Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Japan to talk about jobs and try to lure investors. He’s looking to improve the city’s housing, transportation, dining options, and other quality-of-life aspects.
But as he hears from local employers that they can’t find workers to fill hundreds of jobs, particularly in skilled positions, Barton said he also hears from residents that they can’t find or afford somewhere for their children to go while parents are working.
The difficulty of finding child care poses a barrier to wooing new businesses and workers, retaining young professionals, and connecting unemployed adults with jobs.
So expanding quality child-care options has become Barton’s latest economic development project. And he’s leveraging a popular argument for early childhood education: the workforce benefits.
Read the full article about child care as a potential economic driver by Stephanie Wang at Chalkbeat.