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Sarah Gassen: Excellent news! Employers, nonprofits, colleges be part of native pre-Ok motion – Arizona Each day Star

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Think of it this way: When a tree crashes into your roof and the rain pours in, you must spend to repair and rebuild — but that expenditure doesn’t mean you can stop paying your electric bill to keep the lights on.

The near-billion dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act is desperately needed to help child care providers who were forced out of business — and those who kept their doors open while operating at a financial loss — during the pandemic.

We don’t yet know for sure how many local providers have closed in the past year, but those in the field report it’s a significant percentage. Nationally, 1 in 6 jobs lost since the pandemic began has been in the child care sector, according to the Center for Law and Social Policy.

The Arizona Early Childhood Alliance’s alignment committee is making recommendations to the Arizona Department of Economic Security on how best to spend the federal money, which can be used to cover rent, payroll, facility maintenance and upgrades, personal protective equipment and other pandemic-related costs.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will make the final decision. He’d be wise to listen to the experts, because any successful economic rebound depends significantly on the availability, accessibility and affordability of high-quality child care.

Employers know the connection between employment, economic development and high-quality preschool — that’s why they’re joining this movement in Pima County.

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