Worzalla Asks Community to Partner on Solving Local Childcare Shortage
Worzalla, an employee-owned book printer specializing in printing high-quality children’s books, cookbooks, and hard-cover best sellers is inviting the community to discuss solutions to the child care shortage in Central Wisconsin. Worzalla, along with childcare company KinderCare, are inviting community members and employers to a one-hour virtual event on Tuesday, April 5 at 9:00 a.m. to discuss possible solutions.
As an employer of more than 350 employees at their Stevens Point facility, Worzalla recognizes the current childcare challenge many community members are facing and the impact it has on the workforce.
“With quality childcare in high demand and low supply, finding childcare can be a major stressor for employees and it can also be a barrier to employment,” said Brianne Petruzalek, Vice President of Human Resources at Worzalla. “In talking with parents regarding childcare, you will hear two primary concerns–wait lists are long and childcare is costly.”
In response to Wisconsin’s recently announced Partner Up! grant program, which will provide $10 million in funding to support partnerships between businesses who purchase slots at existing regulated childcare providers, Petruzalek said, “Partner Up! is a great start to addressing the childcare crisis in Wisconsin by making childcare more affordable for families. As a community, we also need to increase the supply of childcare. We’ve heard of waitlists exceeding 100 families with it taking six months or more to get a child enrolled in a center. Additionally, many companies in our community operate 24/7, yet evening and overnight childcare is seemingly non-existent.”
In addition to reaching out to existing childcare centers in Stevens Point to research partnership opportunities, Worzalla has engaged with national childcare service providers as well as individuals in the community to discuss childcare challenges and solutions, including local community member Marion Schneider, who has been developing plans to open a 24/7 nonprofit childcare center.
“In doing six months of my own research on the childcare crisis, talking to over 400 parents in the community, and networking with several other nonprofits, it’s clear there is a need for 24/7 childcare and drop-in care,” said Schneider. “I’ve been developing plans to open Little Dreamers Academy by the end of Summer 2022. The Stevens Point community is very supportive of these plans and many parents are eagerly looking forward to registering their children as soon as this center can open. I’ve put together a plan and now it’s a matter of securing the funding to cover the significant costs of start-up. A partnership with an employer could be a great option to get the center started.”
Through Worzalla’s research, they have learned that the solution to the childcare shortage will require a collaborative community approach and it is likely not a feasible initiative for most employers of its size to take on alone. “We need employers to come together to discuss the childcare challenges and determine how we can work together to increase childcare offerings in our community. By working together, we hope to find a way to make childcare available and affordable so individuals can stay employed or begin working without the stress of finding quality childcare,” says Petruzalek.
Employers interested in discussing a partnership solution to support the community’s childcare needs are invited to join a one-hour virtual event hosted by KinderCare and Worzalla on Tuesday, April 5th at 9:00 a.m. Please RSVP to Brianne Petruzalek at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tiffaney Styles email@example.com or click this link to RSVP by April 4th.