As Missouri businesses struggle to find workers, it’s becoming clear that the state’s growing childcare crisis is at the center of the problem.
Many Missouri parents want to work but aren’t able to because they can’t find childcare. The problem is so severe that nearly 1 in 10 working parents in Missouri report quitting a job due to childcare issues, and nearly one in three parents have changed jobs due to childcare in the last year.
The cost of Missouri’s current childcare crisis is a staggering $1.35 billion, according to a recent study conducted by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the US Chamber Foundation.
In response, the Missouri House of Representatives has passed a budget that dedicates $20 million to explore innovative childcare models aimed at giving parents the support they need to get back to work.
The funding proposal was spearheaded by Rep. Betsy Fogle, a Democrat from Springfield, in collaboration with Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Cody Smith, a Republican from Carthage.
It would allow the state and private employers to form partnerships with childcare providers or even establish dedicated childcare centers. Small businesses would be encouraged to band together and offer these benefits.
The Missouri Chamber has been leading the statewide effort to address Missouri’s workforce shortage and is championing this funding in the General Assembly to provide support to working parents.
“There are parents all across Missouri who are locked out of the workforce because of childcare issues. This problem is creating a serious impediment to our economic recovery — and we need urgent action,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO, Missouri Chamber. “The funding approved by the Missouri House of Representatives would help make Missouri a national leader in finding solutions to the childcare crisis. We need to make progress on childcare as we seek to address the workforce shortage being felt across all Missouri industries.”