50 Local Chambers of Commerce Across PA Urge State Investments in Child Care Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Local chambers of commerce from across Pennsylvania submitted a letter to state lawmakers urging them to address Pennsylvania’s child care crisis. The letter, signed by more than 50 local chambers of commerce and economic development agencies, calls for a state investment that directly helps child care providers to recruit and retain their teachers. The letter explains, alleviating the child care workforce shortage, means classrooms can remain open or reopen, increasing the availability of child care for the tens of thousands of families that need it to remain in the workforce and contribute to Pennsylvania’s overall economy.

“We have been working with the child care providers in Schuylkill County for a year now and we have heard first hand of the struggles they are having keeping their teachers,” said President and CEO of the Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce, Robert Carl, Jr. “Low-wages are driving this teacher shortage. Providers know they need to pay more, especially when unskilled labor is getting $20+ per hour, but they also know that their parents can’t afford to pay more.”

A new report from the nonprofit ReadyNation surveyed more than 300 PA working mothers and estimated an annual economic cost of $2.4 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and tax revenue due to gaps in Pennsylvania’s child care system.

According to the report, the vast majority of child care responsibility still falls on mothers – therefore, work disruptions, career barriers and financial burdens caused by inadequate child care are greater for working moms as a percentage of earnings than all working parents. The annual economic cost of both working mothers and fathers dealing with gaps in PA’s child care system is estimated at $6.65 billion annually.

As part of the letter, local chamber leaders point to numerous states that are navigating the child care teacher shortage crisis that is closing programs and driving up waitlists for working families in need of care. At least 18 states are directly investing in recruitment and retention strategies to solve the child care teacher shortage and ensure that child care supply can meet the demand from working families.