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Workforce Crisis: Child Care, Women, and the Future of the Economy

Bishara Addison & Katie Kelly discuss child care and the workforce with Dan Moulthrop for a virtual City Clyb forum.
Bishara Addison & Katie Kelly discuss child care and the workforce with Dan Moulthrop for a virtual City Clyb forum.

As the nation begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we're learning that the availability of child care, decisions regarding when to safely re-open schools, and the broader workforce are inextricably connected.

While child care professionals were initially lauded as essential employees at the start of the pandemic, their prioritization declined as time passed. Statewide lockdowns, the closing of schools and in-person learning, and the dramatic increase in the number of parents working from home or not working at all resulted in the shuttering of many child care centers, some permanently. It is estimated that up to 40 percent of child care centers will never reopen after the pandemic subsides.

This situation has and will continue to disproportionately affect women. With schools closed and limited options for safe and affordable child care available, women have dropped out of the workforce. According to the National Women’s Law Center, women have accounted for  55 percent of the net 9.8 million jobs lost since February 2020. The lack of high-quality, affordable early care and education has been a barrier to women's employment and advancement for decades. Now, if current trends are left unaddressed, we risk exacerbating existing inequalities and reversing decades of progress toward the creation of an inclusive economy for women and people of color.

We're at a critical point in our state - and our nation's - history. The decisions made in the near term will impact child care providers, working women, businesses that employ parents, and our children, the future of Ohio’s workforce. Join us as two local leaders discuss efforts underway in Northeast Ohio to address the child care crisis.

Bishara Addison
Senior Manager, Policy and Strategic Initiatives, Towards Employment

Katie Kelly
Executive Director, PRE4CLE

Dan Moulthrop
CEO, The City Club of Cleveland

Natalia Garcia is a digital producer for the education team at Ideastream Public Media.