Potential Challenges to Consider

Funding & Quality Limitations: Local workforce boards are constrained by funding limitations and an inadequate childcare market. Across the country, there is a lack of adequate high-quality childcare.

On the funding side, state decisions about WIOA and TANF funds may limit the amount available for childcare, and what is available often requires braiding and various administrative hoops. Local workforce boards can advocate to make childcare a higher priority in their jurisdiction and/or state. There is also opportunity to collaborate with childcare agencies and eldercare support to share information and resources, and connect individuals and families to existing resources they may otherwise be unaware of.

Stereotyping Caregiving is Limiting: There is a tendency to stereotype caregivers as mothers caring for young children, underestimating the impact that other types of caregiving have on a significant percentage of workers over the course of their careers.

By 2030, people over 65 will outnumber children (people under 18) for the first time in US history (source). For the generations of job seekers in the middle, this means caregiving for older family members will be as much in demand as childcare. Forty two percent of caregivers provide support to at least one of their parents, often in addition to caring for their own children. (AARP) Policies, systems, and the general culture need to readjust in order to better understand and meet the needs of the workforce for decades to come.

Overestimating Support & Underestimating Impact: Employers consistently overestimate how supportive they are to caregivers and underestimate the impact that a lack of caregiving resources has on their attraction and retention of diverse talent.

Employers often cite benefits offered, even though utilization rates of such benefits are often low (source). Furthermore, most benefits offered by employers such as flex hours or temporary paid time off are episodic—e.g. after a specific event like the birth of a child—so they don’t support the ongoing daily task of caregiving.

Additionally, even if they characterize themselves as supportive, most employers will emphasize the secondary impacts that caregiving is having on their business, such as employee tardiness, absences, and career setbacks.

Finally, offering caregiving benefits can be a large differentiator for employers in the attraction and retention of talent as well as in addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion gaps that the employer may have in the development and advancement of women and BIPOC individuals.