Spokane, WA – The Spokane Workforce Council (SWC) and South Central Workforce Council in Yakima will receive $3 million to provide childcare for people while they receive workforce training and prepare to enter employment as a part of U.S. Senator Patty Murray’s (D-WA) Congressionally-directed spending requests. Senator Murray announced on July 29, 2022, that she has secured $230 million in funding for Washington state projects in the fiscal year 2023 draft Senate Appropriation bills.
The SWC and the Yakima-based local workforce development board are proposing to receive $1.5 million each to serve at least 50 families over two years by directly investing in childcare for working families to eliminate the cost barrier and reduce the benefits cliff while parents pursue their education and employment goals.
“We will serve parents for whom the costs of childcare are a barrier to joining our regional labor force in family-sustaining jobs. These include those who are underemployed or unemployed, those who lack training and credentials that align with regional business needs, as well as individuals with disabilities, homeless, justice-involved, and people receiving public assistance,” said Mark Mattke, SWC CEO. “By eliminating childcare expenses and leveraging the resources and services of our local workforce system, these families will be able to focus on advancing their career goals and becoming self-sufficient for the long term.”
Washington is the third most expensive state in the country for daycare, costing 34% more than the national average. As of February 2020, many lower educated and lower income women with young children and no degree have continued to decline in labor force participation. Also around the same period, over 13% of childcare providers statewide closed due to the pandemic, a loss of 712 licensed childcare programs, according to Child Care Aware, a nonprofit that works with care providers statewide. It has reduced its capacity by 29,290 children.
“This funding will allow for flexible childcare options to open the door for women to upskill and re-enter the workforce, and lessen the loss of their talent in our community”, said Jessica Clayton, SWC Program and Development Director.
Article Source: Spokane Workforce Council