(The Center Square) – A pilot program aims to help Kansas parents searching for employment by providing them with taxpayer-funded child care during the job search and training process.
“The Childcare Project is specifically designed to assist customers who are not eligible for Department for Children and Families child care assistance, but who are eligible for [Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title 1] funds,” Deb Scheibler, executive director of Kansas Workforce Area One, told The Center Square. “The additional funds assist the customers with the cost of childcare during their job search and for a period of time after starting new employment.”
Gov. Laura Kelly said in a news release that access to child care is one of the biggest barriers that prevent parents from entering the workforce.
“This innovative referral system between state agencies will help Kansas job-seekers gain access to child care assistance,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said in the governor’s release. “Access to safe, affordable child care will mean more families can find meaningful employment. Children benefit from spending time in a safe learning environment, it is one less thing a job seeker must coordinate, and it supports employers that are working to hire staff.”
Those eligible for services must conduct their job search through Kansas Workforce Centers. Some of those who qualify include residents who receive public assistance, have household wages at or below poverty levels or below self-sufficiency, have disabilities, or who are prior criminal offenders, underemployed or long-term unemployed, according to Scheibler.
“Working parents have unique challenges, and this initiative will help many access the quality child care they need in their back-to-work plans,” Lt. Gov. and Commerce Secretary David Toland said in the governor’s office release. “Supporting working families is good for our workforce, and good for our economy in Kansas.”
“Businesses need employees right now,” Scheibler told The Center Square. “The expense of childcare is one of the barriers our customers face when needing to dedicate significant time to job seeking. This expense then remains a barrier in their ability to accept new employment when they have been unemployed.”
Originally Appeared Here