GREDF looking to address childcare workforce shortage

KHQA by Hayden Donaldson |

Parents are struggling to find adequate childcare for their children nationwide, and in Adams County.

According to a study done by the Great River Economic Development Foundation, available openings at daycare centers have decreased 14% since 2018.

Great River Economic Development Foundation President Kyle Moore says the effect of this shortage is felt across the spectrum.

“It’s not just that we need new centers, it’s that we need more slots available for childcare, more children to be able to receive it,” said Moore.

GREDF, along with other organizations like the West Central Childcare Connection, Tracy family foundation, and many other funding agencies are coming together to address this shortage.

“We’ve joined a stakeholder group that is looking at how can we increase the number of workers in childcare, because we know for every worker, more children can get the care that they need.”

Moore says they are looking to address the issue at the college level, with the possibility of trying to increase enrollment by offering more opportunities for students at local colleges.

“Whether that means extending apprenticeship opportunities, reducing the cost of college debt for anybody who is working in childcare. Maybe it’s a sign on bonus. We’re just trying to do different things that can help ease the burden our families are experiencing,” said Moore.

The stakeholder group is also speaking with officials on the Adams County Board to see how they can address it as a county leadership issue.

Moore says that the county currently has $300,000 in ARPA funds available from COVID-19 that could potentially be used.

They also hope to help relieve some the cost of food for childcare centers in the area.

“We were able to provide grants to over 80 childcare providers in Adams County, which totaled about $50,000. We know that every little bit helps when you’re talking about the smaller at-home childcare providers,” said Moore.

The stakeholder group hopes to make a presentation for the plan with the ARPA funds later this summer, and if approved could go into effect in the fall.