Untapped Potential – Virtual Summit on Childcare Event Recap

Untapped Potential

The report “Untapped Potential” notes that “childcare is a two-generation workforce issue, crucial for our workforce of today and workforce of tomorrow.”  In February 2020, when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation released a report indicating that Mississippi loses $673 million annually due to childcare breakdowns, it was important that, as Chamber partners, the Children’s Foundation and the Mississippi Economic Council collaborate on this issue.

The two partners discussed how employee turnover and absences cost employers in Mississippi $553 million a year due to turnover and absences related to childcare.  It concerned both organizations that an additional $120 million has been lost annually in tax revenue to childcare issues. Both the MEC and the CFM decided to host a virtual summit to share the research findings of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. A welcome was given by Governor Tate Reeves, noting the importance of quality childcare in Mississippi. The Summit explored the importance of quality childcare and early learning and the impact upon businesses. It was held September 29th at 2 p.m. The presenters included:

  • Scott Waller, President & CEO, Mississippi Economic Council
  • Julia Barfield, Senior Manager of Policy & Programs, US Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • Jennifer Calvert, Owner, Calvert’s ABC Child Care Center
  • Dr. Carey Wright, Superintendent, Mississippi Department of Education
  • Andrea Sanders, Chief Counsel for Programs, Mississippi Department of Human Services
  • Linda Southward, Executive Director, Children’s Foundation of Mississippi
  • Rhea Williams-Bishop, W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Director of Mississippi and New Orleans programs,  moderated the program.

During the Summit, additional information was revealed:

  • Childcare issues result in an estimated $673 million loss annually for Mississippi’s economy: more than the “Rainy Day Fund” the state currently has.
  •  Over 75% of surveyed parents in Mississippi rely on family members for some or all of their childcare needs.
  •  Nearly 11% of parents had to leave a job due to childcare issues voluntarily.
  •  More than 40% of parents in Mississippi postponed school or a training program due to childcare issue
  •  Mississippi is making strides with early learning collaborative programs, but the state-supported pre-schools are only funded to serve 3,000 4-year-olds in 2020-21, which leaves the remaining 36,000 children without access to state-funded Pre-K.

If you want to see how powerful the collaborative partners can be in Mississippi, you may watch the entire Summit at: https://livestream.com/accounts/6515097/events/9323153/videos/211505466?fbclid=IwAR0ovrMHvcY6yE_GDseQw27lyIWzmDOJEwIPniXZyIs-r8LU59kEtJ5Ppmk

Please stay tuned for additional information from our partnership with the Mississippi Economic Council as we operationalize the “Call to Action” as noted by both Scott Waller and Linda Southward during the summit. We would like to hear from you!  Please send comments to info@childrensfoundationms.org