Groeneveld: Our workers need childcare, public investment is the solution.

by Roland Groeneveld When the pandemic came, we all faced unexpected challenges. As an employer who cares deeply about our teams, we prioritize health and safety to ensure that our critical staff can continue to work on site. While we have done our best to address the challenges of each new outbreak, there is one persistent crisis that we have not been able to overcome.

That crisis is childcare. Affordable, high-quality child care is important to all Vermonters. Since the start of the pandemic, childcare has become more difficult for our staff to find and afford and provide for early childhood educators.

Currently, thousands of children and families across Vermont do not have access to the child care they need. The scope of this problem includes our nation’s ability to attract new businesses, create jobs, hire top talent, and attract more young families and adults. The child care crisis is costing us money and limiting our ability to fill essential roles—a combination that will have long-term benefits for Vermont employers. But we can change this.

To effectively address the child care crisis, we must increase public investments in Vermont’s child care system to make it affordable for families for children ages 0-5 and to adequately compensate early childhood educators for their important work.

Child care advocacy organization Let’s Grow Kids estimates that there are at least 5,000 adults in Vermont who want to re-enter the workforce or increase their hours but are unable to do so because they cannot afford or access child care. That’s too many Vermonters to exclude from our workforce. Studies show that enabling these parents to go to work boosts Vermont’s economy by at least $375 million annually.

We chose to build our business in Vermont because we love the state’s resilience, hustle and community. Vermont has the quality of life that many people want and the potential for new businesses to establish here, but only if we can support our workforce with high-quality, affordable and accessible child care.

That’s why – as business leaders – we’ve supported the Vermont Child Care Campaign and called on other employers to do the same. Declaring your support for the campaign and public investment in our state’s child care system is the right thing to do, not only for your workers, but for Vermont’s economic future.

Roland Groeneveld is co-founder and CEO of Onlogic in South Burlington, Lisa Groeneveld is co-founder and vice chairman of Onlogic, Ellie Lesser-Goldsmith is co-owner and CEO of Health Living (locations in South Burlington and Williston), and Nina Lesser-Goldsmith is co-owner. He is the owner and Chief Operating Officer of Healthy Living.

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