To: Mayor Tobin and Cortland Common Council
Re: Childcare in Cortland
Childcare has always been a business issue but with the tight labor market many business leaders are now realizing the importance of reliable, adequate childcare for our children and for our workforce like they never have before.
Why is this an issue and why has the Chamber of Commerce taken it on as a top priority? Simple, this is needed for today’s workforce and for our future workforce. Today’s workers need reliable childcare to work to their potential. Studies show when parents have unreliable childcare, they have higher tardiness, absenteeism, and leave work early more often. In addition, while at work they are less productive. Over 50% of working parents will miss work due to inadequate childcare.
Tomorrow’s workforce is also impacted. 85-90% of brain growth occurs by age 3 and if we don’t provide the environment to promote that growth, the children will never reach their potential. That potential is our future workforce. This is our issue!
Nationally, The Council for a Strong America now estimates The Infant-Toddler childcare crisis has an annual cost of $57 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue.
In NY, 703,000 children under age 3 with 62% of mothers with infants working outside the home mean we have tremendous need for childcare.
Here in Cortland County we have just shy of 3,000 children under age 6 with a capacity in our childcare centers of 957 or 33% of the population. We’ve lost two centers in the past two years and can’t afford to lose any more. We’re working to gather further support statewide but in the meantime there are things we can do locally. Each of our current centers has already been tasked with creating any efficiencies they can to keep their doors open, much like you’ve done as a municipality. It’s not enough. Johanna Ames of Ames Linen may have said it best, “When I pay attention to the conversations on the floor with my employees, I can tell who will miss work related to inadequate or unreliable child care.”
Affordable, quality childcare is in the best interest of our business community. The Chamber of Commerce strongly urges the City to do what’s in your power and necessary to improve the affordability of our local childcare and increase the capacity for our working families. This may include the plan being developed for Parker School, please consider all aspects.