Celebrating thread’s 5th Summit on the Economic Impact of Early Care & Learning: Quality Child Care Creates Futures

January 2, 2024

On October 26th thread hosted its 5th Summit on the Economic Impact of Early Care & Learning: Quality Child Care Creates Futures. The event brought together 200 participants including businesses, elected officials, and community leaders for a discussion about the economic and social benefits of early care and learning in Alaska.

Speakers tackled various topics, such as the trends and needs of child care, the latest early care and learning economic impact data, investments to state planning, and policy change, and ended with a session about how businesses and communities can partner to strengthen policies in support of child care. If you missed a session or would like to view the session slides you can do so here. Thanks again to our speakers and special guests who shared their work at the Summit.

This year’s Summit featured the latest Economic Impact Data and trends. Child care continues to be an important economic driver in Alaska and while families continue to find accessing child care difficult:

  • More families are utilizing child care, although fewer are being served in licensed child care
  • 51% of families reported that they are not working or working less than they’d like due to limited access to affordable child care.
  • Child care is getting more expensive for families. More families report child care is unaffordable.
  • Businesses are impacted by child care issues including high rates of absenteeism and lower productivity due to child care issues.
  • Early educators remain some of the lowest-paid professionals in Alaska making just over $14/hour and many without benefits.

The Summit conversation reminds us that a strong child care system creates futures. Today’s workforce is supported while tomorrow’s workforce gets a strong foundation for school and life. Families are less stressed. Businesses are more productive. Alaska’s economy grows. As many families in Alaska continue to have limited or no access to quality child care, businesses are struggling to retain employees who need child care. The child care workforce is struggling to stay in the field because of low wages. Change is necessary, critical — and attainable.

thread challenges you to think about what changes are needed in the child care industry, and how we can all benefit. How will we make these changes together? What is your commitment to making child care work for Alaska? Do one thing today! Take a look at thread’s advocacy tool kit for some ideas to get involved and act now! Join us in our work, at our next event or take action in support of quality child care. Sign up for thread’s action alerts here.

This event’s success was made possible, thanks to generous support from our sponsors. Special thanks again to The State of Alaska, the Department of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Administration for Children and Families – This project is made possible by funds from the Preschool Development Grant Renewal – Birth through Five (PDG Renewal B-5) grant number 90TP0103. The Alaska Children’s Trust, Anchorage Daily News, Denali Daniels + Associates, Alaska Afterschool Network, Alaska Public Media, Altman, Rogers & Co., Conoco Phillips, Credit Union 1, First National Bank Alaska, Juneau Economic Development Council, Mat-Su Health Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, United Way of Anchorage, The Alaska Club, Anchorage Association for the Education of Young Children (AAEYC), Anchorage Sand and Gravel Co., INC., Bright Road, Wealth Management, Halcyon Consulting, Hmoob Cultural Center of Alaska, Institute for Childhood Preparedness, and Jordan Marshall Alaska.