It’s no secret that the pandemic has brought the importance of quality, affordable child care for the workforce to the forefront of the conversation. In politics, business, education, and the lives of millions of families this is a topic of hardship that has been building pressure for a long time in Colorado and across the nation. In a recent article in the Colorado Sun, The Colorado Children’s Campaign estimated that about 64% of Colorado families had to alter their child care plans and lives due to the pandemic (Julig, 2021).
Employers have been hit hard by this deficit, as employees from entry to executive level are leaving the workforce and struggling to return. Employers and entities across the state are taking action to help relieve the pressure on working families, through the development of on or near-site child care programs and other creative family benefits that aim to offer both access, flexibility, and affordability for their employees, while building critical child care supply in their region.
To continue guiding this incredible effort to success, the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) has partnered with EPIC to bring back the Employer-Based Child Care Design Lab, a unique opportunity for employers to gain the knowledge necessary to plan an on-site or near-site child care facility through direct support and community partnerships while developing a competitive grant application for up to $800,000 in state funding for their projects. The Design Lab will launch in April 2023 through August 2023 and will consist of virtual meetings, networking opportunities and project technical assistance for participants.