A critical shortage of labor, both skilled and unskilled, currently exists across much of Bay County. Employers across all industries are experiencing difficulty in staffing operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Childcare and after school care facilities are in short supply as many have closed or scaled back operations as an outcome of Hurricane Michael. It is commonly accepted that access to responsible and affordable childcare is vital to economic development. Many workers with young children confront multiple challenges and struggle with returning to the labor market either part time or full time due to inability to secure affordable childcare convenient to their home or workplace. This proposed economic development project is designed to help small business, large scale, and public sector employers staff up their operations by enabling workers to adhere to their work schedules, reducing absenteeism, and improve workplace productivity. It is well documented that workers are more productive when they have peace of mind knowing their children are safely being cared for.
Federal and state disaster funds may be available to help offset costs for 1) families with children, and 2) facility operators. Families with children, upon demonstrating employment, employment search, or student status, along with household income would receive a monthly voucher allotment, in addition to any pre-disaster subsidy, to offset costs of childcare.
Facility operators would receive a monthly subsidy based on average population count and enrollment capacity. Subsidies to apply toward for rent, electric, and operating expenses.
Lessons learned in economic recover from Superstorm Sandy (Hurricane Sandy 2012) provide precedence for moving forward with planning and execution.