SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Two Minnesota House committees examined the critical role that child care and early learning play in our state’s economy during a public hearing at the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain today.
Testifiers from the Minnesota Business Partnership, Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Northland Foundation, YMCA of the North, Institute for the Developing Brain, and others explained how early care and learning is unaffordable and inaccessible for families and pays poverty wages to caregivers, leading to crippling shortages in the state’s workforce and lifelong opportunity gaps for children.
“Investments in the earliest years have the biggest payoff for all of us,” said Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL - St. Paul), chair of the House Early Childhood Finance and Policy Committee. “We have the opportunity to make these critical early investments this session, and House DFLers are seizing it. We are dedicated to ensuring that parents can work, employers can expand, and children can get the great start they deserve.”
At the hearing, committee members learned that the lack of affordable and accessible child care is one of the biggest workforce development concerns for companies and communities throughout the state. Some families pay as much as 40 percent of their income for child care. Meanwhile, ??the pay for those who teach and care for young children is some of the lowest of any requiring a high school diploma, with a third of caregivers on public assistance themselves.
“When Minnesotans have access to child care and quality early learning opportunities, we’re not only enriching our next generation but allowing today’s parents the economic security they need to help their family thrive,” said Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL – Minneapolis), chair of the House Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee. “The peace of mind from dependable child care is a benefit for our state's workforce and economy, and should be accessible for all Minnesotans, regardless of zip code.”
Video of the joint committee hearing is available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel.