Hey, Uncle Sam, workforce assist begins with high quality, dependable, inexpensive little one care | Our Readers Converse

West Virginia’s workforce needs support. Working parents are in a dilemma to find affordable and accessible child care. While the child care industry is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, small businesses continue to wait for stabilization and support from state legislators that may not be possible for our state budget. This is why it’s necessary for members of Congress to consider the merits of federal investments in child care as they continue to debate the next budget package for our nation.

Child care providers like me tend to offer child care services out of the need to find quality and affordable child care for their own children. When my husband and I started our business nearly 30 years ago, we started small. Today, we are delighted to offer our care and education for more than 100 children and employ more than two dozen professionals. Like most businesses, we’ve struggled to keep our heads above water throughout the years. And even prior to the pandemic, my small business was on the verge of closing down. But we made it work, and our community is better for it.

Children need high-quality educational environments. Working parents need quality, reliable and affordable child care. When parents can go to work and know that their children are properly cared for, they can keep their jobs and their peace of mind. This directly impacts our economy, and women’s ability to get back in the workforce. At a time when small businesses are struggling to attract and retain talented employees, access to affordable child care has quickly become a barrier to business growth, and an inhibitor of economic recovery.

We need Congress to make these investments in child care and small businesses to get us to the other side of recovery. Without further investments in this key industry, businesses cannot expand, parents cannot work, and our children will miss opportunities for growth and development.

Melissa Colagrosso

Oak Hill

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