Finding adequate day care is a struggle for many Mid-Michigan workers

Shiawassee County working to pair businesses with child care centers to keep employees on the job
Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 7:17 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - As coronavirus pandemic restrictions loosen, workers are finally heading back to the office.

But for many working adults, there’s just one problem that’s been brewing well before the pandemic began: A lack of suitable day care options. Elite Learning Center in Corunna is hoping to improve affordability and accessibility when it comes to child care.

Shortages about in the U.S. economy just about everywhere -- labor, semiconductor chips, cars and certain food items are hard to find nowadays. But many workers are finding out that child care is scarce when it’s time to head back to the office.

“It comes from accessibility -- just being able to keep their child cares open. And ones that are open already, be able to sustain them to stay open, and that really comes from lack of funding,” said Kendra Nichols, who runs Elite Learning Center in Corunna.

Her business is just one of a handful of child care centers in Shiawassee County. The center is unique in that it remains independent, meaning they’re able to operate without the backing of a church or a school. But that makes the already existing financial woes even more burdensome.

“We’ve been able to be very creative and put together some outside resources as well as we own a couple other businesses that help us to sustain,” Nichols said.

Demand is so high right now for child care that she has a waiting list even with 21 full time employees.

Help could be on the way, as Shiawassee County is in the midst of trying to partner child care centers with businesses to meet employee needs.

“It definitely would be a huge benefit,” Nichols said. “And when I purchased Elite Learning Center, it was very important to anyone that was already receiving a discount to continue and try to give this discounts.”

Elite is currently in the process of moving to a much larger 9,000-square-foot facility. Nichols hopes she’ll be able to expand the footprint and accommodate more children with more space.

“New moms, sign up for child care. If you know you’re pregnant today, start calling,” Nichols advised.

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