COVID-19 is decimating the childcare industry—a $47.2 billion industry primarily comprised of small businesses who collectively employ 1.5 million workers.
The pandemic has made clear the essential nature of childcare in both the response and recovery phases. The country needs childcare programs operable now to support frontline and essential workers and will need this critical workforce support for every other industry when we begin to return to work.
Not only do two-thirds of women in the workforce have children under the age of six, but also 75% have children between ages six and seventeen. With schools and aftercare programs shuttered and many summer childcare programs operating status uncertain or expected to be closed as well, financial and other support for the industry is necessary to ensure employees have essential services and support to return to their jobs.
Additionally, there will be ongoing resource and occupancy guidelines necessary to keep children and employees safe. These important requirements also are straining these businesses financially and will inhibit their ability to adequately serve working parents and their children at capacity levels seen prior to this crisis.
Like many small businesses in America, childcare providers operate on the slimmest of margins and it is estimated that one-third will not survive the shutdown. We know there will be fewer childcare options for working families when they return to a new normal and the ramifications to them and to their employers will hinder our ability to recover. Childcare is essential for all of us to get back to work.
–Cheryl Oldham, Vice President of Education Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation