The Missoula Chamber of Commerce and its innovative child care initiative earned it an invitation to the White House this week.
A recent chamber survey revealed that many Missoula-area workers struggle to afford child care -- even if they find an opening. Many have to reduce the hours they can work, or they end up quitting their jobs altogether.
The Missoula Chamber of Commerce worked for more than a year to energize the business community to help find a solution -- for not just parents, but for employers who want to keep their talented workforce on the job.
It's the seven-model plan that the chamber created that is generating interest in the business world and now it will share how it's finding a market-wide solution to the problem at a special meeting at the White House on Thursday.
“Child care has struggled for many years trying to get attention saying they're running into hurdles, they can't find child care providers,” Missoula Chamber of Commerce President Kim Latrielle said.
“What's been missing is the business at the table of this issue. And now, business is impacted when workers can't come back to work. They can't find quality, affordable child care. So it is impacting the workforce here in town and so I think it's this community's responsibility -- and businesses as well -- to make it the best place to work and to feel comfortable leaving your kids.”
The child care initiative also provides resources for individuals or businesses who want to open their own child care centers and will help daycare workers earn more pay and benefits.
Latrielle will be joined by child care licensee expert Mark Roberts and architect Todd Schaper for Thursday's meeting in Washington, D.C.