United Way, Madison College leaders discuss business support for child care

Leaders of Madison College and United Way of Dane County say Wisconsin employers have a stake in addressing the state’s child care challenges, according to a report from WisBusiness.

Speaking during a recent webinar hosted by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Dane County Vice President of Community Impact Jody Bartnick discussed ways that businesses can help support local child care without needing to launch their own program.

“They can subsidize buildings; they can subsidize rent … I’ve heard examples of subsidizing heat for child care programs,” she said. “So, there’s lots of really creative ways that businesses can step in, and communities can step in, and help offset those costs. Because there’s a tremendous amount of operational costs that goes into running child care programs.”

Bartnick and Madison College President Jack Daniels III agreed the current system for providing child care in Wisconsin is broken, with industry workers being paid too little while child care services remain prohibitively expensive for many state residents.

Daniels said more public-private partnerships could help address these issues, noting the lack of affordable child care options is impacting businesses’ ability to attract and retain workers.