A number of employers, administrators and superintendents attended the childcare discussion at the Library last week

Plainview’s Public Library played host to near 30 in attendance for a discussion about “Pierce County Childcare” hosted by the Pierce County Economic Development group last Wednesday, Jan. 25.

The PCED, along with the University of Nebraska Extension office, had invited Mike Feeken of “First Five Nebraska” to present information about “how childcare challenges affect Pierce County, and what could be done about it.”

Following the presentation, which can be found on the Plainview News Youtube channel, the participants broke out into town and group oriented pods and discussed the information presented that was relevant for their situation.

Those in attendance covered a wide range of Pierce County – the City of Plainview, Zion Lutheran School, Plainview Public School, Osmond Hospital, CHI Plainview, the City of Pierce, a number of banks and others.

Feeken covered a range of topics, including costs of childcare in Nebraska, average salaries and presented results of parent surveys about what was being expected and where costs would be accepted for their children’s care. 

He presented information about what other communities have done to help with the shortage of child care, especially in rural areas of the State, including locations like Burwell, with a newly constructed facility; operations in Cambridge, Randolph, Bloomfield and Schikley, and what new partnerships between a community, its school, and perhaps others could look like.

Part of the presentation also focused on the group’s noticing of a need for qualified, educated and capable workers to move to rural areas, return to the workforce after having children and being a part of their communities. 

Feeken said that parents not in the workforce accounts for nearly $57 billion in lost earnings in the United States. Part of the discussion did also gravitate toward a possible general shift in the communities and families where childcare may be too expensive, and more parents are just choosing to stay home rather than work to afford care for their children.

Local groups and discussions were started, and more discussions may be facilitated in the future in an effort to find solutions to this issue.