The struggle to find quality, affordable childcare is enough to bring anybody to tears. As the head of Noah’s Ark Children’s center in Owosso, Mary Jo Pouillon says it’s just as hard to provide it.
“It’s hard finding qualified staff because it’s hard to pay them what they are worth because the state requires us to have an associates degree, bachelor’s degrees, so many credentials that we just can’t pay them for. So you have to have very dedicated people, but you also have to be able to feed your families,” said Director of Noah’s Ark Children’s Center, Mary Jo Pouillon.
A recent study from KinderCare Education says that more than 60% of parents have a hard time covering the cost of quality childcare. The issues don’t stop with families and today the Shiawassee Chamber of Commerce brought people together to talk about ways people can make the system better. Joe DeJohn says it starts with presenting the data to employers, including the fact that the cost of childcare puts many families in a pinch with an average of 20% of a household income going to childcare.
“When you look at that and you look at employers responsibility to assist their employees with that, I think that is where the gap is and if we can bridge that gap there are a lot of creative ways we can solve the problem,” said VP, Strategic Partnerships at KinderCare Education at work, Joe DeJohn.
Other solutions included creating a plan based on need assessment, surveying local employers as well as outlining the economic impact of the current shortage of childcare. The turnout today stands as a testament of how this community is ready to make a difference.
“For a community like Shaiwassee county, to have as many people here today that are committed to trying to make this world a better place for our kids, for our families, and employers was just really encouraging for me,” said CEO of the Shiawassee YMCA, Laura Archer.