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Area Deemed a Child Care Desert

Worker shortages in our area are nothing new.

On Wednesday, a group of business leaders gathered to talk about one issue that keeps people from finding jobs, and that’s the lack of available child care.

Organizers of this event say parts of Cambria county are “child care deserts”.

According to them, that means there are sections of the population with kids under 5 that have no access to child care providers and they say that keeps capable people out of the workforce.

“So today, were going to look at the employer role, were going to think about economic impact, were going to think about cross sector strategies in order to support working families in childcare”

“We know that it is critical for the workforce of today Families need to have quality child care in order to actively participate in the workforce and its also really critical for our future workforce. But also for the sustainability and growth of the county and actually Pennsylvania’s economy”.

These business leaders heard about examples of what they could do to help with child care and increase the number of potential workers in their own company.

“Our approach has always been that now it has to be a focus on our culture and our people” says Stephanie Doliveira who works as the Vice President of Human Resources at Sheetz Inc. and is Co-chair of the Pennsylvania Learning Investment Commission.

Doliveira shared how Sheetz runs a child care program at their Claysburg center.

“Sheetz in a company that has invested tremendously in their workforce as well as an onsite childcare center”

“Sheetz in a company that has invested tremendously in their workforce as well as an onsite childcare center”

“About almost twenty years ago, we sat down and tried to decipher what our values at Sheetz and we came up with something that we call our D.N.A and at the center of our D.N.A, the center of our values is respect”

Speakers stress how important it is for businesses to understand child care needs.

“I’m hoping that the businesses take away that there’s a value for supporting early childhood development and daycare because if they do, do that it should make it easier to get people back into the workforce and as we all know, who are running businesses these days that’s one of the difficulties that were having is getting people back into the workforce”

Officials say a lot of work has been done to support early learning and child care, but more needs to be done.

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