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Spokane working parents facing childcare expenses could now have a breath

The $1.5 million funding will eliminate the cost barrier that parents face while pursuing their education and employment goals.
Credit: stock.adobe.com
Exhausted and stressed mother working from home with toddler. Quarantine and closed daycare centres during coronavirus outbreak. Child making noise and disturbing woman at work. Freelance job with kid

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — The Spokane Workforce Council (SWC) and Yakima's South Central Workforce Council  will provide childcare funding for parents pursuing their education and employment goals.

The SWC and Yakima based local workforce will receive $3 million. Each workforce will get $1.5 million to serve at least 50 working families for over two years with childcare costs.

The funding will eliminate the cost barrier that parents face while pursuing their education and employment goals.

“We will serve parents for whom the costs of childcare are a barrier to joining our regional labor force in family-sustaining jobs," Mark Mattke, SWC CEO, said in a statement.  

Mattke said that parents who qualify are those who are underemployed or unemployed, lacking training and credentials that align with regional business needs, as well as individuals with disabilities, homeless, justice-involved, and people receiving public assistance.

“By eliminating childcare expenses and leveraging the resources and services of our local workforce system, these families will be able to focus on advancing their career goals and becoming self-sufficient for the long term," Mattke said in a written statement. 

According to Child Care Aware, Washington is the third most expensive state in the country for day care, costing 34% more than the national average. As of February 2020, many lower educated and lower income women with young children and no degree have continued to decline in labor force participation.

Over 13% of childcare providers statewide closed due to the pandemic, a loss of 712 licensed childcare programs, according to Child Care Aware.

“This funding will allow for flexible childcare options to open the door for women to upskill and re-enter the workforce, and lessen the loss of their talent on our community,” Jessica Clayton, SWC Program and Development Director said.

Career development services are offered on the WorkSource Spokane Campus and include education, on-the-job training, paid work experience and internships, pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, and other supports to assist parents in achieving and retaining employment. 

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