WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid a national child care crisis, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today announced the launch of the Early Childhood and Business Advisory Council, a joint initiative between the U.S. Chamber Foundation and the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to expand high-quality, affordable child care in communities and states across the United States, to help solve one of the biggest issues facing American families and employers during the pandemic.
Today the child care sector is experiencing a massive labor shortage, as child care workers have left the profession in record numbers. At the same time, lack of affordable child care is hindering our economic recovery, as roughly 14 million working parents who left their jobs at the beginning of the pandemic still lack the child care they need to return to work.
The Early Childhood and Business Advisory Council will bring together local chambers of commerce with key stakeholders, including state and local early childhood advocates, business owners, and state administrators, to drive progress in communities where significant barriers to child care exist.
"While the current child care crisis has been decades in the making, the pandemic has brought to light how essential child care is to the success of our workforce and the economy,” said Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber Foundation. "If we want the economy to get back on its feet, we have to solve this urgent problem. That’s why the business community is a key stakeholder in this effort. Thanks to our longstanding work on child care and connections to local chambers, and BPC’s expertise in building policy solutions, both organizations are uniquely positioned to partner in successfully leading this initiative."
- Huntsville, Alabama
- Lucia Cape, Senior Vice President, Economic Development, Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County
- Gail B. Piggot, Executive Director, Alabama Partnership for Children
- Faye Nelson, Deputy Commissioner, Family Resources for Alabama Department of Human Services
- Kati Capozzi, President and CEO, Alaska Chamber of Commerce
- Stephanie Berglund, CEO, THREAD Alaska
- Maricopa County, Arizona
- Grace Appelbe, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Liz Barker Alvarez, Chief Policy Advisor, First Things First
- Lori Masseur, Early Childhood Education Director and State Head Start Collaboration Office Director
- Alex LeBeau, President, Idaho Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Beth Oppenheimer, Executive Director, Idaho AEYC
- Charles Aull, Senior Policy Analyst, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
- Sarah Taylor Vanover, Policy and Research Director, Kentucky Youth Advocates
- Kara Corches, Vice President of Government Affairs, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Craig Stevenson, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Kids Win Missouri
- Missoula, Montana
- Kim Latrielle, Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce
- Grace Decker, Partner, Missoula County Collaborative Coordinator, Zero to Five
- Patty Butler, Bureau Chief and Child Care Development Fund State Administrator, Early Childhood Services
- South Dakota
- David Owen, President, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Kayla Klein, President and CEO, Klein Visioneering Group
- Austin, Texas
- Kwee Lan Teo, Vice President of Talent Development, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
- Sandy Dochen, Early Matters Greater Austin
“Child care is among the few issues that has bipartisan support both in D.C. and throughout the nation – child care is a family issue, a workforce issue, and an economic issue,” said Linda Smith, director of the early childhood initiative at BPC. “Child care is also founded on a broken business model that contributes to the significant lack of access for many families looking to enter or remain in the workforce. BPC has always believed addressing the child care crisis requires an all-of-the-above and all-hands-on-deck approach. Our local chambers and leaders in the business community bring a vital perspective to the table and we look forward to working with them to identify innovative solutions to increase supply and options for working families.”
Over the course of this initiative, the Council will work together to identify the most pressing child care challenges in select regions and create unified action plans in each state or community to address them. The U.S. Chamber Foundation and BPC will provide technical assistance and resources to support this effort. In addition, the U.S. Chamber Foundation and BPC will collect best practices and lessons learned to inform similar initiatives in the future from states not in this cohort.
To learn more about the U.S. Chamber Foundation's work in early childhood education, visit our website or contact Aaron Merchen. To learn more about the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Early Childhood Initiative, visit their website or contact Brittany Walsh.
This initiative is made possible with support from W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and The Ballmer Group.