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The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC) has joined with business organizations across Michigan to urge Governor Whitmer and state lawmakers to invest federal stimulus dollars to support significant reforms in child care. In a letter to the Governor and legislative leaders, the business coalition noted $63 million in federal stimulus funds available for the remainder of the state’s fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30. The group says the state must ensure investments in child care to help children, providers, families, and businesses thrive.

“The pandemic has underscored a problem that has been a major challenge for families, our workforce, and employers for several years,” said Steve Japinga, vice president of public affairs, LRCC. “Child care is a business issue, and we are committed to being part of the solution.”

The business coalition informed state leaders that several themes emerge in legislative negotiations that it supports as part of a final agreement, including increasing the income eligibility, waiving family co-pays, rising reimbursement rates, paying providers on enrollment rather than attendance, and providing business support grants to providers.

The vast number of women who have left the workforce cannot find the care they need or can afford. The resulting loss of talent in the workforce is having a huge impact on employers and the economy.

“Child care has emerged as a leading concern for our members,” said Michelle Rahl, vice president of member engagement, LRCC. “Child care concerns is one of the top reasons being cited by workers who haven’t be able to come back or are leaving the workforce. The impact is being felt mostly by women and particularly by communities of color. The impact on the workforce cannot be overstated.”