Metro Detroit child care centers getting extra help from Michigan Works! offices

Staffing shortages persists throughout child care industry

Child care centers across Southeast Michigan are getting some extra help from their local Michigan Works! offices amid ongoing staffing shortages.

Together, they’re hosting a virtual child care industry job fair to help find new employees.

The executive director of Southeast Michigan Works! says that not having child care keeps parents from returning to the workforce, so the regional job fair will help more than just the child care industry.

“It’s been tough, it’s very stressful,” said Candice Sproat, owner of two Kiddie Klub locations in Oakland County.

Sproat says it’s been a struggle to find staff. Right now, each location has about 10 open positions.

“We’ll have 15 interviews that are scheduled for a day. Maybe half of those show up; from the half that show up, hopefully half of them are qualified,” Sproat said.

Kiddie Klub is not alone -- that’s why five Michigan Works! agencies across the region, and the state’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, are hosting an industry job fair.

“Last fall, we went through a wave where we were having to close some of our rooms everyday, just because we didn’t have enough staff to keep them fully staffed with the state ratios,” Sproat said.

Related: Michigan Gov. Whitmer proposes school funding boost, bonuses and tax cuts

Michigan Works! in Oakland County is taking their support for the industry one step further by awarding child care scholarships to families using grant money.

Mother of two Ashley Hodge is one of the scholarship winners. She said she pays $275 each week in child care for her son Grayson.

“Every week. I felt it,” Hodge said. “So, having this opportunity to have a scholarship or grant presented to me ... I don’t qualify for any assistance at all. This was just huge.”

Michigan Works! in Oakland County says it still has plenty of money for families, but interested families have to apply for the scholarships. Applications are open to Oakland County families only, and can be found on the county’s website right here.

The virtual job fair will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 15. There will be about 100 different employers from 10 different counties, officials said. Employers are still able to register.

Individuals interested in the job fair must register ahead of time by calling their closest Michigan Works! office, or call 800-285-WORKS.

More: Local news

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