Five Takeaways from Working Parents, Stronger Communities
May 26, 2022
Five Takeaways from Building Thriving Workplaces: Working Parents, Stronger Communities Webinar
Maine’s child care system was headed toward crisis even before the pandemic and a lack of child care has continued to impact families and shift the work landscape. The benefits of supporting families in the workplace are clear.
Working Parents, Stronger Communities, part of the Building Thriving Workplaces webinar series presented by United Way of Southern Maine and the Portland Chamber of Commerce, brought together community leaders in child care, business, and education to strategies, insights, and resources related to child care in Maine. Watch the webinar and read some of their key takeaways below.
“The challenges of finding affordable, high-quality child care has always been an issue for certain groups, particularly those that are Black, Indigenous, or people of color and low-income and poor families. And this has also affected women on a disproportionate level, as it was women primarily who left the workforce to provide care for the children.” – Camelia Babson-Haley, Executive Director, Youth and Family Outreach
“The vast majority of Maine families have all available parents in the workforce. And our policies are not based around that reality. I would encourage folks to think about what they can contribute in their role to…shift those policies at the local state and federal level.” – Matt Dubel, Executive Director, Portland ConnectED
“We collectively have to find a way to make this an industry that provides not only a living wage, but a wage that’s appealing…At the same time, we’ve got to bring public supports to bear so that the affordability for parents is also achieved. That’s a steep hill to push the rock up, but we can do it.” – Joe Cassidy, President, Southern Maine Community College
“Look within your company and ask yourself: How best can you support your employees, especially working parents, to succeed in your organization? Child care is here to stay and if your company offers flexibility, it offers you a hiring advantage.” – Kwame Yeboah, Senior Project Manager, Greater Portland Workforce Initiative
“We’re talking today about what we face in the immediate. Thinking long term, quality child care really is a key ingredient to getting kids off on the right track so they can develop into adults that have fulfilling career opportunities.” – Steve deCastro, President & CEO, Gorham Savings Bank
During the webinar, the panelists shared numerous local resources for caregivers, employers, and job seekers in the child care industry.
- Childcare Choices — Statewide directory of child care providers.
- PortlandYouth — Directory of out-of-school programs in the Greater Portland area.
- Maine Child Care Subsidy Program — Assists families with cost of care, up to age 13.
- Portland Public Schools collaboration — Provides free summer programs for students via community organizations.
- Portland Works for Kids — Coalition working on multiple strategies to expand access to child care in Portland.
- No One is Coming to Save Us — A podcast series about America’s broken child care system and how we fix it.
- Child Care Business Lab — Free program that supports participants in opening an in-home family child care in Greater Portland.
- Greater Portland Workforce Initiative — Bridge to CDA (Child Care Development Associate) Program.
- Youth and Family Outreach — Early care and education program in Portland’s East Bayside.
- Southern Maine Community College Early Childhood Education Program
- Best Place for Working Parents — Take the 3-minute assessment to see if your organization is friendly to working parents.
- Gorham Savings Bank and Gorham Arts Alliance — Read about how Gorham Savings Bank co-located with Gorham Arts Alliance to provide onsite child care services.
Have you enacted workplace policies that support parents and caregivers at your organization? Send your success stories and strategies to email@example.com. Find more strategies in the Thriving Workplaces Policies & Best Practices toolkit.