Jun 3, 2020
Jim Dyke Comments on Child Care Industry as Virginia Returns to Work
Child care providers are considered essential in Virginia; however, a drop in enrollment has meant many programs have closed since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. With limited space, social distancing requirements and strict sick child policies, Virginia workers are struggling to find child care programs as the Commonwealth reopens.
A May 23 article from The Free-Lance Star details the hurdles, as well as potential solutions with comments from McGuireWoods Consulting senior advisor, Jim Dyke.
As a co-chair of the newly created Back to Work Virginia task force, Dyke recognizes that investing in the child care industry and early childhood education is essential in rebuilding the economy and creating a strong workforce. Stephen Moret, CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and Deborah DiCroce, President of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, co-chair the task force with Dyke.
Created by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, the task force is exploring ways to stabilize and strengthen Virginia’s child care industry in the wake of the pandemic.
“What’s happening in this pandemic is that you have people now who are thinking about [the child care issue] who haven’t thought about it at all before,” Dyke said. “Both the public and private sector need to look for ways to make sure we have a stable early childhood education system in place.”
The task force is made up of representatives from the business and education communities and meets monthly.
“We don’t want [families] to have to make a choice between paying their mortgage or paying for child care,” he said. “We want to make sure everyone has access to this service that not only helps them, but helps us, because the future is coming from these kids. We need every able bodied person to be involved in the work force.”
In addition to strengthening programs that train child care professionals, the task force is also looking for ways to improve pay and access to child care.
“Every one of those folks is going to help grow our economy,” Dyke said. “We are all invested in this.”