By Shannon Johnson
In recent years childcare has become increasingly difficult for people nationwide to find. Recently, this issue has been impacting Baker families more than ever. EMEDA is trying to work with the community to resolve this issue. They have had several Listening Sessions over the past few months, one with childcare providers, and the most recent one, held on Nov. 29, with the general public.
Many families have a parent that is unable to work because they have no one to care for their kids while they are at work. Community members have expressed concerned about expanding their families due to the lack of childcare. Vaughn Zenko, EMEDA’s chair, explained that there are businesses in Baker that are not able to stay fully-staffed because there are not enough people in the workforce. “There’s an intense need for it,” expressed Zenko.
EMEDA is hoping to assist in facilitating a daycare center. Right now, they are trying to gauge interest and figure out how many children the daycare would need to accommodate. “We don’t know if we need a center for thirty to forty kids, or for sixty kids,” says Zenko.
“Port Authority [EMEDA] understands that a basic service that’s needed for a reliable workforce in Fallon County is making sure there is accessibility and availability of childcare,” said Shanny Spang Gion, EMEDA’s director.
Currently, their goal is to provide a facility for a childcare provider to take over. “Port Authority wants to make those business and economic opportunities a reality, but we’re not in the business of being in business,” explained Spang Gion “We would provide infrastructure to provide the opportunity for someone to meet that need of childcare.”
While this project is still in its early stages, EMEDA sees this as a pressing issue that they would like to solve as soon as possible. Right now, they are focused on gauging interest, so they can find out what kind of daycare center they will need.