Feb 12, 2021

VBSR supports Let’s Grow Kids’ three-year childcare campaign

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) today announced their support of Let's Grow Kids’ (LGK) three-year childcare campaign. The campaign has been launched in an effort to ensure that all Vermont children have access to high-quality early education that meets the needs of these children and their families. The campaign will focus on enacting policies to help ensure this access in 2021 and beyond.

VBSR’s members have seen the impact that a lack of high quality, affordable childcare has had on Vermont’s workforce first-hand.

Business owners and employees alike have long struggled to access high-quality, affordable childcare, which has a direct impact on the ability of businesses to succeed and Vermont’s economy to thrive. The lack of accessible and affordable childcare forces many parents to leave the workforce altogether.

Over time, a parent who leaves the workforce loses up to four times their annual salary per year. In a recent survey issued by VBSR and Main Street Alliance Vermont, 42.7% of business owners indicated that lack of childcare is a challenge for their employee’s ability to return to work.

“High quality, affordable childcare is essential to Vermont’s families and businesses; never has this been more apparent than during the pandemic,” said VBSR Board Member and Head of Community Relations at National Life Group Beth Rusnock. “It’s time we work together to develop sustainable, realistic solutions to help make this happen.”

In the wake of the pandemic, it is more clear than ever before that childcare plays a critical role in Vermont’s economy. Access to childcare has impacts on Vermont’s workforce and economy and without it, families who can’t afford childcare have been forced to leave the workforce in droves. With four out of ten women in the United States leaving the labor force at some point to care for family members the pandemic has had a particularly stark impact on Vermont’s women.

“The data has shown us what we suspected all along. That women bear the brunt of the socio-economic impacts when they can’t access childcare,” said Sascha Mayer, VBSR Board Member and Co-founder and CEO of Mamava. “It’s women who, when the pandemic hit and their children were home, had to leave their jobs to care for their families. If universal childcare was available to them, the economic impacts of the pandemic would look very different.”

The campaign will help the state reach the ultimate goal of high-quality, accessible childcare for all Vermont children and families. It aims to make early childhood education more affordable, to fairly compensate and advance Vermont’s early childhood education workforce and to expand access to high-quality early childhood education throughout the state.

“Clearly, this has been an issue in Vermont long before the pandemic hit,” said VBSR Board Member Duane Peterson, Co-president of SunCommon. “But as is the case with many things, the pandemic really highlighted existing issues of inequity. As a Vermont employer, it’s really important to us that our employees have access to childcare so they can fully participate in our business. Losing productivity is rough on them, with devastating impacts on our company and our local economy.”

The campaign will also focus on investing in new IT for Vermont’s early childhood education system and strengthening the early childhood education system governance and administration as well as identifying a long-term funding plan for the state’s early childhood education system.

“VBSR is committed to moving the state toward a fairer and more inclusive economy,” said Roxanne Vought, Executive Director of VBSR. “Providing access to high-quality affordable childcare will make our state a more equitable place and allow both our economy and all of our people to thrive. We applaud LGK for their work and look forward to supporting them throughout this campaign.”

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