Local Awareness Campaign Launches To Educate Employers On Tax-Incentive Based Solutions Available To Strengthen & Optimize Our Workforce

Staff Report From Athens CEO

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

The LEAD Athens Praxis Team, in partnership with GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students and Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, have joined forces to educate the community and employers of Athens-Clarke County about the importance of early childhood education, raise awareness about Quality Rated early childhood education programs within the local community, and increase accessibility to high-quality early learning opportunities for all families.

A desperate need exists within Athens-Clarke County to improve accessibility to adequate, affordable, and quality early childhood education services. The non-profit GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students reports in an Athens-Clarke County Profile that approximately 7,000 children between the ages of birth and five reside in the county.

Within Athens- Clarke County, the reality is that the resources provided by local providers have the ability to potentially support less than half of the children in our community, and the financial requirements to pay for early childhood education services is unachievable for a large percentage of the population. While there are programs that provide financial assistance to some of the population, these resources are limited and often difficult to obtain.

High-quality child care is a wise investment in our future because parents of small children are less likely to miss work and are more productive when they have access to quality child care services. Employers who invest in dependent care programs for their employees see a 49% decrease in turnover and typically have 25% fewer absences as a result.

Without affordable child care, many parents will not be able to enter or consistently remain in the workforce. As an employer, it’s important to recognize this vital need of families. One might be under the assumption that there’s nothing an employer can do as a business owner that could ease these burdens for employees. With the help of federal and state tax relief and through the adoption of family-friendly policies, there are likely have more options at our disposal than one may realize. By offering child care options and being flexible to employee’s family needs, one can establish a stable work culture that will help retain current employees and attract new talent.