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Childcare Not Just a Family Issue, It’s an Economic Issue

Earlier this year, the Texas Association of Business (TAB) joined the Texas Restaurant Association, Early Matters Texas and Texas 2036 to launch the Employers for Childcare Task Force (E4C), designed to confront one of the most pressing challenges facing working families across the Lone Star State: the childcare crisis.


Last week, the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce and Workforce Solutions Alamo convened a childcare workshop in Fredericksburg  Texas, where local community leaders and business stakeholders discussed solutions for in-home childcare. A poll conducted last year by the Fredericksburg Chamber found that 62% of local business owners reported having frequent staffing disruptions due to childcare issues, often on a weekly basis.


Rev. Bobby Vitek, pastor at Holy Ghost Lutheran Church in Fredericksburg and former member of the Chamber’s Childcare Committee put the issue in simple terms: “If they can’t work because of childcare, then we have a problem.”


While rural communities like Fredericksburg may feel the problem more acutely, they are certainly not alone in the Lone Star State. Families across Texas are grappling with the daunting financial realities of skyrocketing childcare costs. For many, childcare expenses exceed their wages, putting parents in the unenviable position of having to stay home rather than work.


But the implications of the childcare crisis are not confined to individual families. They ripple across Texas, impeding workforce productivity, stunting economic growth and amplifying existing disparities. The economic toll of this crisis is staggering, with Texas alone estimated to suffer annual losses exceeding $9 billion due to inadequate childcare options.


In Fredericksburg, as in many other areas of the state that are outside of large municipalities, local businesses have reported frequent staffing disruptions due to childcare issues, highlighting the tangible economic consequences of inadequate childcare infrastructure. Fredericksburg Mayor Jeryl Hoover said he’s seen people turn down work at the city due to lack of access to childcare:


“I hear anecdotally from people that this is a huge issue in town…We can’t hire people or people can’t work at restaurants and that sort of thing.”


Efforts to address this crisis require a multifaceted approach that recognizes childcare's interconnectedness with other socio-economic factors such as housing affordability and wages.


TAB Senior Advisor and Executive Director of the TAB Foundation Stephanie Matthews recently joined the E4C Executive Committee for a virtual town hall meeting to provide an update on the coalition's progress. Over 100 individuals attended the event, demonstrating the importance of affordable and high-quality childcare as a barrier to workforce entry for both employers and employees. 


“To ensure Texas maintains its competitive economic edge, we must work with our employer community as well as the state to identify creative solutions allowing families to access high-quality, affordable childcare,” Matthews said. “This is a critical barrier for families wanting to work or pursue additional education – a perverse disincentive that is contrary to the spirit of Texans.  We can do better. However, given the strong momentum to find a solution, I hold firm to the belief that by working together, we can fortify Texas' workforce and pave the way for a prosperous future.”


To learn more about the Employers for Childcare Task Force (E4C), click here.



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