Employers & Child Care Event Offers Strategies to Boost Fayette County WorkforcePosted on February 21, 2023
Fayette County, PA (February 21, 2023) – Much of Fayette County has so little child care that it is labeled a child care desert. What does that mean? The Center for American Progress, an independent, non-partisan policy institute, defines a child care desert as any census tract with more than 50 children under age 5 that contain either no child care providers or so few options that there are more than three times as many children as slots.
This lack of child care limits local families and keeps capable people out of the workforce. It is also stifling the growth of our local economy. Employers cannot find workers to fill open jobs. “People are hesitant to apply for jobs because they don’t know if they’ll be able to find child care,” said Leah Spangler, president and CEO of The Learning Lamp. “A lack of child care is keeping people out of the workforce,” she added.
County-wide, 4,460 children aged five and under need care. The county’s 43 child care providers have a capacity of 2,366 slots for infants, toddlers, and young school-age children. This leaves parents of nearly 2,094 children scrambling to find care, according to data from Start Strong PA.
Fay-Penn Economic Development Councils and the Fayette Business Education Partnership together with The Learning Lamp, are co-hosting an event on how business can support the expansion of child care in Fayette County. The event feature members of the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission and will address how to increase worker retention and productivity and boost job applicants through child care solutions.
Andrea Heberlein, Executive Director of the PA Early Learning Investment Commission, Stephanie Doliveira, Executive Vice President of People and Culture at Sheetz, Inc., and Karen Grimm-Thomas, Early Childhood Strategy Advisor for The Pennsylvania Key, will be on hand to guide an eye-opening discussion and provide actionable steps on how businesses can help solve the worker shortage through strategies that better support employees by increasing their access to child care.
This impactful discussion and networking event will take place on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at Penn State Fayette – The Eberly Campus, Swimmer Hall, Williams Building located at 2201 University Drive, Lemont Furnace, PA 15456. Check-in and a light breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. with the discussion starting at 8:30 a.m. Limited seating is available. Registration prior to the event is requested. There is no registration fee. To pre-register, please contact Misty Hiltabidel at 724-437-7913.
The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. In 2021, The Learning Lamp served 28,160 youth/adults from 51 school districts and 69 other schools and organizations in 19 Pennsylvania counties. Our programs include: child care and preschool, after school programs, tutoring, SAT prep, online learning, credit recovery, alternative education and specialized classrooms for at-risk students, trauma support groups for children/families, temporary staffing, and grant writing and project consulting for schools.