The Policy Intersection of Child Care, Education and Workforce

August 14, 2020 | Business in education JD Davis, Vice President, Public Policy, ABI,

For generations, Iowa’s employers, employees, educators and child care providers have worked together to create a self-sustaining network. This network allows parents to earn a living, kids to get an education, and businesses to hire a skilled and engaged workforce. Employers and employees, in turn, fund child care and education to keep the system rolling.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged this model and created uncertainty for all parties. Policy makers have stepped in with fixes, and more policy work remains to adapt and preserve this system.

Closed child care facilities, limited in-person learning opportunities for children and federal unemployment benefits that incent employees to leave the workforce and stay home to provide child care or see that a child’s education progresses can pull the old system apart.

Gov. Reynolds has convened the Economic Recovery Advisory Board and charged it to make recommendations for recovery including education. Several ABI member companies and ABI staff are participating in this process.

The Iowa Legislature stepped in to require that, with some exceptions, K-12 schools in Iowa must conduct 50% of their instruction in person. On July 17, Gov. Reynolds signed a new proclamation implementing the legislative requirement and taking steps to provide more and younger substitute teachers to meet the challenge of reopening for in-person education.

In August and September, ABI will hold our policy development committees and the ABI Board of Directors will approve policies that will be advanced to address this and other issues aimed at getting Iowa, its people and its economy past the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, please reach out to the ABI public policy staff for more information and input into the process.