Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, education advocates recognized the critical nature of early childhood education (ECE) in ensuring a bright future for kids. Research shows that access to high quality ECE supports long-term educational and professional outcomes, including higher wages and higher graduation rates, and gives parents more opportunity to participate in the workforce, allowing for greater financial stability.
After nearly a year of disruption caused by the pandemic, the need for ECE and care has been further amplified. Parents are trying to balance childcare and work. Childcare providers are working to stay open or re-open, unsure if they can sustain their businesses during such uncertain times. Employers are trying to determine how and when their employees with young children can fully return to work.
To contribute to a deeper understanding of how these childcare challenges are impacting businesses and employees, Colorado Succeeds urged its members to participate in a survey from the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation on the impact of COVID-19. Results were reported on the Foundation’s COVID-19 Impact on Childcare website, laying out several key findings:
- 61% of parents have returned to work, 26% are likely to return, and 13% are unsure or unlikely to return.
- 50% of parents who have not yet returned to work cite childcare as a reason they have not returned.
- Among parents who have not yet returned to work, 30% will be unable to return to work if their school district adopts an online learning model.
- 32% of employers have seen some of their employees leave the workforce because of COVID-19.
- 20% of employers are currently willing to increase their investment in childcare needs. However, 49% of employers would be likely to provide additional childcare assistance if the government offered supplementary incentives.
These findings further prove the urgency of ensuring access to high-quality early childhood education, not only to improve educational outcomes of students and support Colorado’s growing workforce, but also to ensure economic recovery post COVID-19.
As employers vested in the state’s economic potential, we can and should leverage our political influence to support policies that invest in ECE. The success of Proposition EE, the tobacco-vape tax establishing universal preschool for all Colorado 4-year-olds, was a positive first step, and now business must remain at the table to ensure funding is managed with accountability and transparency, and always in service to students first.
Colorado Succeeds plans to discuss some of these key themes in our Dec. 10 member meeting. The Foundation will also be hosting a free informational webinar on Dec. 9 from 1 – 2 pm MST for those seeking a deeper dive into the data.
Contact us for more information about joining our network of over 100 businesses committed to ensuring all Colorado kids have access to a game-changing education.