Post-pandemic, the lack of affordable and accessible high-quality child care is one of Maine’s major workforce development barriers. According to a ReadyNation report, the child care crisis is costing Maine $403 million a year.

Maine business leaders have been sounding the alarm on child care in recent years, and we are pleased that the Maine Legislature recently began to address this crisis.

We have Senate President Troy Jackson to thank for championing child care investments in Maine, and for working in a bipartisan fashion to fund improvements that support child care workers, working parents and, thus, workforce development.

Senate President Jackson worked closely with crucial appropriators – Sens. Peggy Rotundo and Rick Bennett and Reps. Rebecca Millett and Sawin Millett – to craft a supplemental budget that made a historic $30 million investment in child care.

These investments include $400 monthly wage increases for child care teachers; funds to support more lower-income working parents to qualify for child care subsidies; funds to help more of our lowest-income children qualify for Head Start programs, and a scholarship program to support child care for child care workers. In addition, the Office of Child and Family Services will undertake a robust study of the true cost of child care, so future policymakers can better understand and address the complexities of our broken child care system.

Appreciation goes out to Senate President Jackson and all the legislators who responded to the needs of both our employers and Maine’s vital child care sector.

Dana Connors
former president, Maine State Chamber of Commerce and member, ReadyNation

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