Whitmer calls for more child care assistance to get workers back on the job

Wendy's, Burger King and other fast food restaurants in Grand Blanc are desperate for more...
Wendy's, Burger King and other fast food restaurants in Grand Blanc are desperate for more employees.
Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 12:02 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republicans are taking different paths to encourage more workers to get back on the job.

Republicans announced a plan two weeks ago to give workers a $1,000 bonus if they take a job. Whitmer is calling for more child care assistance to get workers back in the workforce after the coronavirus pandemic.

Employers all across Mid-Michigan are reporting trouble filling open jobs with a reduced labor pool. Fast food restaurants and retail stores are among the hardest hit businesses dealing with worker shortages.

The Republican plan would devote part of Michigan’s $7.9 billion share of the American Rescue Plan toward incentivizing workers to take a job. Up to 400,000 may be eligible for the proposed $1,000 grants.

Whitmer said the coronavirus pandemic has created a number of pressure points on families. She placed a big priority on child care assistance in her budget recommendation to the Legislature to help alleviate that concern for parents re-entering the workforce.

“If the Legislature appreciates how serious this component is to our ultimate goal of getting our economy back on track, I’d love to find some common ground with them on that particular item, because I think that would do a lot more to give parents peace of mind, and so they go back to work,” Whitmer said.

She also wants Michigan to focus on retraining workers for in-demand careers, which would set up them and the state for future success. Whitmer believes the billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief funding coming to the state present a one-time chance for Michigan to better prepare the workforce.

“We have an incredible opportunity. And this opportunity is reliant on us getting this right and being strategic about how we deploy those resources so that we can get people back to work, so you can get people enhanced skill set so that they can get into better paying jobs, so we can ramp our kids with the kind of supports they need to address their academic needs, their mental health needs or physical needs,” Whitmer said.

She said COVID-19 vaccines also are important in making workers feel safe on the job from contracting the illness from coworkers or customers.

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