TradesFutures Child Care Pilot Program: Working to Make Child Care Accessible for North America’s Skilled Tradespeople
TradesFutures understands that child care is a major barrier for many working parents looking to enter or remain in the construction workforce and TradesFutures is working to set an example to lead on an issue hindering America’s workforce.
Child Care costs are huge, and the struggle for parents and employers is growing.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly eight million families pay a provider to watch over their children every year. Annual child care costs can reach tens of thousands of dollars, disproportionately harming low and middle-income working families.1 And that doesn’t factor in inadequate care. Prior to the pandemic, inadequate child care cost working families $37 billion a year in lost income and employers $13 billion in lost productivity.2 Finding adequate care, given the hours and cycle of the construction industry, is terribly difficult. For too many building trades members, the operating times of the facilities, the contracts, and the location options available are not sufficient. Many construction projects require workers to be on the job at 6 am, or off the job at 7 pm. Logistically, it’s practically impossible to access child care without being late to work or leaving early.
We need better options.
Federal assistance for child care, including the child tax credit and the child and dependent care credit, has helped parents cover child care costs, but both of those tax credit expansions have expired. Now, not only is there a lack of affordable, quality child care options, there is no federal safety net. With one-third of the U.S. workforce – an estimated 50 million workers – having a child under 14 in their household, we must do more to support working parents with affordable access to quality child care.2 The building and construction industry needs flexible, affordable child care options that allow workers to go to work and build the nation’s roads, bridges, hospitals, power supplies, and other critical infrastructure, knowing their child(ren) are being taken care of affordably by qualified child care professionals in a safe environment. TradesFutures believes that by adding some private-sector support and reactivating government support, it can provide better options for members and be an example for other industries.
Trades Futures is launching two Child care Pilot Programs to be tested in New York City and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The goal of the pilot is to lessen the workforce burdens with reassurance that their children are in a quality care setting while they work, as well as ease progress through apprenticeship programs by reducing the financial and emotional burdens of finding quality child care.
Child Care Facility Near Job Site with Voucher Pilot: Milwaukee
The pilot will support a local child care coalition comprised of labor unions and nonprofits; and provide ten tradeswomen or apprentices cash assistance for child care needs for twelve-months to increase access, opportunity, and upward economic mobility.
Child Care Voucher Pilot: New York City
The pilot will support a local child care coalition with labor unions and nonprofits. The pilot will provide ten tradeswomen or apprentices cash assistance for child care needs for twelve- months to increase access, opportunity, and upward economic mobility.
TradesFutures and its affiliated unions are excited to see the outcome of these two pilot programs and hope that their future success will be replicated in the coming years.
Citation 1 –
Laughlin, L. (2013, April). Who’s minding the kids? child care arrangements: Spring 2011 – census.gov. Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/2013/demo/p70-135.pdf
Citation 2 –
Sasser Modestino, A., Ladge, J. J., Swartz, A., & Lincoln, A. (2021, November 24). Childcare is a business issue. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://hbr.org/2021/04/childcare-is-a-business-issue