Can Vermont solve its childcare shortage?

Vermont’s record low unemployment rate – now hovering at around 2% — has spawned another problem: the state can’t find enough workers. One recent study says Vermont is short about 11,000 workers per year.  What does child care have to do with this problem? A lot, it turns out. Parents who can’t find or afford quality child care can’t reliably show up at work and some even end up leaving the workforce altogether. But crisis is the mother of opportunity, and employers are turning to new solutions to lure workers with innovative childcare option. We explore the childcare challenges & solutions with employers, advocates and parents. (October 2, 2019 broadcast)

Emily Blistein, director of business strategy, Let’s Grow Kids

Shelley Sayward, vice president, Casella Waste Systems

Lindsay DesLauriers, president, Bolton Valley Resort

Kailie Speciale, housekeeping supervisor, Bolton Valley Resort 

Nicole Grenier, owner, Stowe Street Cafe, Waterbury; director, Children, Youth & Family Services, Washington County Mental Health, author of op-ed piece on childcare crisis

Will Vt. subsidize child care? The big return on investing in kids

The Vermont Business Roundtable, along with VBSR and others, released a report, Vermont’s Early Care and Learning Dividend, which details the return on investment that Vt stands to gain by increasing public investments in high-quality early care and learning programs. The report found that investing in a high-quality, affordable early care and learning system would yield net benefits to Vermont’s economy of $22 million a year. These benefits would continue to accrue over the working lifetime of the children receiving that care, totaling $1.3 billion over the next 60 years. This equates to a return of $3.08 for every dollar invested. Gov. Phil Scott has expressed support for investing in child are, but has proposed funding it by taking money from K-12 education, which the Legislature has nixed. Has the governor punted on child care? What’s the future for early childhood education in Vermont? (February 8, 2017 broadcast)

 

Robyn Freedner Maguire, campaign director, Let’s Grow Kids

Lisa Ventriss, president, Vermont Business  Roundtable

Kelly Klein, owner and CEO, of Groennfell Meadery, Colchester

Childcare: Crisis & Opportunity, 2-11-15

In Vermont, more than 26,000 children under the age of 6 are in need of childcare. According to Building Bright Futures, licensed childcare providers have the capacity to serve only 40 percent of these children. Up to half of children are not sufficiently prepared to enter kindergarten. Vermont Gov. Shumlin has called for the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission to research financing options for high-quality, affordable childcare .

We have four perspective on childcare:

Parent: Alison Maynard, Director, Center for Leadership and Innovation at The University of Vermont Continuing Education, mother 4 and 5 year old.

Provider: Sonja Raymond, Owner of Apple Tree Learning Centers in Stowe, and Quality Project Coordinator for the Vermont Association of the Education of Young Children (VAEYC), mother of 16 yr old.

Business person: Benjamin (Ben) Wilson, President of the Better Middlebury Partnership, an organization dedicated to making the greater Middlebury area a better place to live, work and play. Ben is active in the BMP’s efforts to recruit  telecommuters and new businesses to the Middlebury area. Dad of 5 & 7 yr old.

Robyn Freedner-Maguire, Campaign Director of Let’s Grow Kids, public education campaign that aims to raise awareness about early childhood development, mother of 3 yr old twins and a 6 yr old.

Let’s Grow Kids: Improving early childhood in Vermont

About half of Vermont’s children arrive at kindergarten unprepared. Children who are not prepared for school are less likely to graduate from college and more likely to need special education, depend on social services, have health concerns, and commit crimes. Let’s Grow Kids is a campaign to educate Vermonters about giving children the support and preparation for success in life. Discussing early childhood initiatives:

  • Julie Coffey, Building Bright Futures Early Childhood Advisory Council
  • LouAnn Beninati, Vermont Birth to Three
  • Dr, Johana Brakeley, MD, pediatrician
  • Robyn Freedner-Maguire, Let’s Grow Kids