An SWC survey completed in August found that parents in Spokane County were struggling to find consistent and affordable childcare.
SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution on Wednesday directing more than $2 million to the county’s childcare industry.
The money will come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and will be given to the Spokane Workforce Council (SWC) to “develop and implement a comprehensive program to support middle-income families struggling with childcare costs and the childcare industry experiencing challenges hiring and retaining workers.”
“We are grateful that the Spokane County Commissioners are making a significant investment in this workforce development initiative,” said Mark Mattke, SWC CEO. “The $2 million will provide us with the resources necessary to develop our capacity and integrate childcare more effectively as a key component of how our local workforce system supports parents as they advance in their career pathways. We will also be able to address worker shortages to help improve the talent pipeline into this important industry. These outcomes will benefit area businesses by increasing the available workforce in a wide range of in-demand jobs.”
According to SWC, more than 13% of childcare providers in Washington state closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, many providers have struggled to re-open, retain employees and provide consistent and reliable staffing.
An SWC survey completed in August found that parents in Spokane County were struggling to find consistent and affordable child care, with 75% of those surveyed reporting multiple barriers to accessing it. These barriers include cost, lack of openings, needing care during non-traditional hours and lack of quality care.
The survey also found the average monthly out-of-pocket cost for childcare is $1,369 per month.
“This funding will provide a holistic approach to this crisis in our community, supporting middle-income families and childcare providers, and help mitigate the loss of talent we have experienced as a result of the pandemic,” said Jessica Clayton, SWC Program and Development Director.
For more information on the ARPA funds, click here.
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