By: Janetta King and Shannon Jones Access article
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many fault-lines in our state and country. Among the challenges that resonates most broadly and continues to impact nearly everyone, either directly or indirectly, is access to affordable, high-quality child care. Solving Ohio’s child care crisis is not only critical to families and young children, but it’s also essential to the prosperity of our small businesses and economy.
These issues are inextricably linked. The lack of affordable, quality child care is hampering small businesses by limiting the workforce pool; and small businesses are the backbone of Ohio’s economy. They make up 99.6% of all Ohio businesses, and employ nearly 45% of all Ohio employees.
Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices (10KSBV) and the Bipartisan Policy Center, in partnership with small business owners across the country, including in Ohio and Cincinnati, released a report – "From Pandemic to Prosperity: Bipartisan Solutions to Support Today's Small Businesses." The report, which crystallizes more than a year of conversations with, and surveys of, small business owners, identifies persistent challenges small business owners are facing. Among the most prevalent challenges is the lack of affordable child care.
As the report highlights, over half of small business owners surveyed in January said they or their employees faced child care challenges during the pandemic. For small businesses who are child care providers, the pandemic also highlighted deficiencies in the basic model of child care. The cost of providing quality care exceeds what most parents and families can afford to pay.