Eggs & Issues: Leaders address childcare issues

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 3:42 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Childcare is one of the most difficult workforce challenges for parents and employers right now.

That was the issue tackled at Friday morning’s Eggs & Issues, hosted by the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chippewa Valley Childcare Task Force discussed the problem and policy changes needed to move towards solutions.

The Task Force says getting staff members and keeping them is the biggest issue in the childcare industry.

“Honestly, the big problem is staffing. On average, childcare workers are paid $11 to $12 an hour. When you compare that to Kwik Trip or Target, when you can make $15 an hour or more with benefits, again, most childcare teachers don’t get benefits or specifically health insurance. So you see a high turnover, especially in a tight labor market like right now,” Kimber Liedl, Business Engagement Director, said.

“If we could open up the classrooms that we have already existing in many of the childcare centers, we could cover some of these children that our waitlists up to over 300 of them at least. And so it’s really critical that we start to look at wages and raising those wages and what the community can do in order to sustain some of that.” Renee Ernsting, Director of Childcare Partnership, Western Dairyland, said.

The Chippewa Valley Childcare Task Force is led by the United Way and includes childcare resource partners, business advocates, higher education professionals, and health care system staff.

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