2021 July Business Matters Chamber Luncheon: The Business Case for Quality Childcare Services
Access to a high-quality childcare system is a mechanism for strengthening the workforce of today, of tomorrow, and our local economy.
Our business community has a unique opportunity to lead the way in implementing family policies that support their employees and make economic sense for the business' bottom line. Find out more at our July 12 luncheon.
Did you know..
- 40% of all Montana businesses have difficulty recruiting and retaining a qualified workforce due to a lack of childcare.
- Approximately 55,000 parents in Montana reported working reduced hours in 2020? That accounts for approximately 10% of the state's labor force.
- Montana businesses lose nearly $55M annually due to inadequate childcare.
- An estimated 25,000 parents in Montana were unable to reengage fully with the labor force due to a lack of childcare in 2020.
- Licensed childcare capacity meets only 47% of estimated demand in Montana.
Join us for a panel discussion about the business impacts of childcare and early childhood education:
Kristen Heck, President of LC Staffing, Moderator
Kristen Heck grew up with LC Staffing, formerly known as Labor Contractors. She started out as the business’s receptionist in 1992, in a small office south of town. The hourly wage of $5.50 was half of the former wage she earned before returning to Montana, but it was what the business did for people’s lives that captivated her. Kristen’s passion for LC Staffing grew as strong as the business. In 2000, she became an equity partner and in 2017 she became the sole owner. Her first experience as a business owner however came after her daughter was born, when she pursued education and training in early childhood development and started an in-home childcare and preschool. Kristen brings a unique perspective as an experienced childcare giver partnered with experience working with businesses across the state with hiring needs.
Collette Box, Executive Director of the Discovery Developmental Center
Collette has been working in the field of early childhood education since 1990, when she first returned to school at FVCC to earn a degree in Child Development. She started working at Discovery when the organization was founded in 1992, first as a teacher of toddlers, and then adding on Director responsibilities in 1995. She has overseen the growth of the organization since then, including building a permanent location for the center in 2005. Other leadership roles over the years have included Board positions in Montana Association for the Education of Young Children at the state and local level; as a founding steering committee member for the local Best Beginnings Community Council and as a Child Care representative on the State Best Beginnings Advisory Council. A recent monumental moment in her career was when the Governor deemed child care an essential service last spring during the height of the COVID pandemic, which finally catapulted communities to start thinking about the role child care plays in economic development and how it is funded and supported.
Kate Mcmahon, Owner of Applied Communications Consulting
Ms. McMahon has been working as a consultant in Montana since 1997. She regularly works with local governments, economic development agencies, and non-profits on a wide range of issues all across Montana from preparing local growth policies, conducting housing needs assessments, developing broadband strategies, and other community development issues. She has lived in Whitefish for 15 years and has completed multiple projects in the county including the Flathead County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. Most recently, she has completed child care feasibility studies for Havre and Lewistown.
Stephanie Freese, Eligibility Manager for The Nurturing Center
Stephanie Freese is the Family Services Manager at the Nurturing Center and a mother of two. She works directly with families to help them qualify for child care assistance. She has worked for the Nurturing Center for four years and is very passionate about helping families in need. The Nurturing Center is a place where she is able to do so in many ways. She has seen both sides of the issues at hand having also managed in the hospitality and food service industries in the valley.