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Business & Economy

Columbus City Council Approves Child Care Worker Recruitment Measure

Amy McCoy serves lunch to preschoolers at her Forever Young Daycare facility, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, in Mountlake Terrace, Wash.
Elaine Thompson
Child care centers once operated under the promise that they would always be there when parents have to work. Now, each teacher resignation, coronavirus exposure, and daycare center closure reveal an industry on the brink, with wide-reaching implications for an entire economy's workforce.

Updated, November 23, 2021, 6:21 AM ET

Columbus City Council has approved a plan to help recruit more child care workers. The child care industry faces a big labor shortage made worse by the pandemic.

The ordinance earmarks $3.9 million from the city's recovery fund to partner with Action For Children, a central Ohio child care resource and referral agency.

Under the plan, new teachers would receive a $200 bonus at hiring and another $800 after 90 days of employment.

"Attracting and retaining teachers in the child care field has never been easy, because wages have never been high," said Council President Pro Tempore Elizabeth Brown.

"But when you look at this economy right now and the forces that childcare providers have to contend with, it is especially hard," she said.

The measure would also provide scholarships of up to $10,000 for about 250 working families.

A recent survey by the Ohio Association of Child Care Providers found that 95 percent of their more than 600 member centers were struggling to fill staff openings.

Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.