Quality Child Care is Economic Development

Vermont’s economic prosperity relies on its most important asset: Vermonters. To create a thriving economy today and for the future, employers must be able to depend on a stable and focused workforce.

Unfortunately, Vermont's workforce is facing a crisis. Our state's population is one of the oldest in the nation, and by 2025, one-fifth of our population will be retirement age. On top of that, every year more and more people leave the state. It's essential to the health of our businesses, communities and economy that we keep our young people here and attract more young families to move here. 

Ensuring that working families have affordable access to high-quality child care is key. 

Quality Child Care is Important to the Bottom Line

Working families rely on the child care system in order to arrive at work ready to be productive. In Vermont, more than 70% of children under age 6 have all of their parents in the labor force and are likely to need some form of child care. When working parents can rely on child care, their productivity increases, absenteeism is reduced and turnover is minimized.

When Child Care is Unstable for Employees, Businesses Lose Out

Losing talented employees is costly for businesses. Associated costs include:

  • Advertising the position, interviewing candidates, screening finalists
  • Onboarding, orienting and training a new employee
  • Lost productivity: Studies have shown that an employee may take 1-2 years to reach the productivity of an existing worker

According to the 2016 Human Capital Benchmarking Report by the Society for Human Resource
Management, the average cost-per-hire for companies is $4,129.
Other studies have shown that the total cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to two times an employee’s annual salary, for mid-career to leadership positions.

Early Childhood Investment is Workforce Development

Employers need individuals who have strong cognitive, communications and social and emotional skills. Science tells us that the most critical time for development occurs during the early years, laying the foundation for success in school, relationships and future work. To encourage healthy development, young children need access to quality learning environments.

Prominent national studies have documented the large return on investment associated with
giving children access to high-quality early care and learning. In February 2017, a workgroup led
investing in early childhood in Vermont, generalized to the entire population of children who are
likely to need care.
The study finds that expanding Vermont’s early care and learning system would reap net benefits
to our government and society of $3.08 for every $1 invested, which would accrue to $1.3 billion
over the working lifetime (65 years) of the children served.
Benefits include increased earnings and associated tax revenues of parents who are able to retain
their jobs as well as of the children served, who are more likely to experience successful careers. In
addition, the state would see savings in child welfare, special education, health care, crime and
substance abuse costs.

Vermont Has a Child Care Challenge

  • Nearly 80% of infants and toddlers likely to need child care in Vermont do not have access to high-quality programs
  • Middle-income families with two children are paying up to 40% of their income on child care.
  • Child care workers earn on average less than $25,000, which is less than a livable wage.

It’s a Solvable Problem

To create a thriving economy today and in the future, we must invest in high-quality, affordable early care and learning programs. 

Vermont's Business Leaders Speak Out for Child Care



Vermont Business Leaders Speak Out for Child Care 

"I know it's a difficult subject for all of us out there who pay property taxes, and we support our local education through those property taxes—to be business owners and see another potential layer of cost. But I do believe that—seeing it with my own kids working in the business—that it does enhance [employees'] ability to focus on their jobs, to stay local and not leave the state."

~ Jim Parker, president of Clear Water Filtration, Parker Aviation Enterprises, and Vacutherm

"I am a strong supporter of high-quality, affordable child care to ensure we thrive as individuals, businesses and communities."

~ Sara Byers, president & co-owner of Leonardo's Pizza
"It's important to have businesses try to do their part; it's really important for communities to step up; but ultimately I think we need policy change."

~ Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's

“A highly talented and educated workforce is the linchpin for maintaining and elevating a competitive economy… It’s not a moral assertion, it’s a practical one…The jobs will go where the well-prepared workers are.”

~Paul Koonce, CEO of Virginia’s Dominion Generation Group

“Economically speaking, early childhood programs are a good investment, with inflation-adjusted annual rates of return on the funds dedicated to these programs estimated to reach 10% or higher. Very few alternative investments can promise that kind of return.”

~Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve

Nearly 80% of Vermont infants and toddlers likely to need child care don't have access to high-quality programs. Learn more about Vermont's child care shortage here.

What You Can Do

Informational Resources:

"The Economic Impact of Child Care" handout

►"Vermont's Business Leaders Speak Out" videos:

6.5-minute video

3-minute video

"Child Care Matters to Businesses, Too" TV ad

Take Action!

Click here to see the action steps you can take to support positive change for Vermont's children.