OP-ED | Child care availability impacts Dayton area businesses


Stress in your personal life can be directly correlated to stress in your professional life. This stress “levels up” when it involves your direct family and children. If employees are forced to choose between their children and their job, their family will win every single time. That is why as employers we know how important it is to make sure that ALL employees have access to reliable and quality child care services. If we can help connect our workforce with affordable high quality child care options close to where they live or work, it will relieve one of the most significant stress factors in their lives, and they will show up more productive, less distracted and have less turnover. Addressing the child care issues is a key workforce strategy for Dayton area businesses. That is why you see organizations like the Hope Center in West Dayton collaborating with Mini University to bring high quality child care options into a neighborhood. 

This is a complex problem, it is not just about making child care more affordable and accessible, and it’s about building capacity in the industry and workforce for more families to have access to child care.   The child care industry has faced their own set of challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic forced thousands of child care workers out of the market and many have not come back. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the child care workforce in Ohio is down 28% compared to pre-pandemic numbers. If child care centers can’t find their own employees, then they will not be able to care for the children of our employees.

Child Care Resource Guide

The issue not only affects families and employers, but it disproportionally affects the careers of women.  During the pandemic women took on three times as much unpaid child care as men.  The facts are clear, if families are forced to choose between work and child care, women are more likely to stay home. This trend has a direct effect on corporate diversity, female leadership and the face of our future business community.   

It is clear that lack of access to quality affordable child care has a direct impact on workforce, diversity, productivity and turnover.  To address these problems, Dayton area businesses are stepping up to lead by providing tools like flexible working schedules, on-site child care and financial subsidies.  

Strategically, Dayton area businesses are leveraging their corporate voice and influence as public policy advocates. Businesses are communicating and educating lawmakers on the business impacts of the child care crisis. They are advocating for additional resources from public sector support to help subsidize employee child care costs, support for the child care workforce and identifying local communities that are in need of high quality child care facilities. The child care crisis is affecting businesses, governments, families and the future of our workforce. The Dayton area business community is committed to working with our partners to solve this workforce crisis of today, before it becomes the pandemic of the future.  

Chris Kershner, CAE
President & CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce