JEFFERSONVILLE, Vermont (WCAX) — This week, Smugglers Notch Resort is announcing that it will offer employees free on-site daycare. Before that, they could pay a reduced rate.
Local nonprofit Let’s Grow Kids estimates that a lack of childcare is keeping about 5,000 Vermonters out of work.
Smugglers Notch HR manager Shelly Citron says it’s a family resort and she wants that to extend to those who work there.
“We know that our employees who work here, we want them to provide the best vacations and experiences for our little ones, and to do that, we need to make sure they have a high quality of life,” Citron explained. .
These types of programs are becoming more common, but Let’s Grow Kids director Aly Richards says it’s only a short-term solution.
“We have 8,700 children in Vermont today who don’t have access to child care,” Richards said. “Those lucky enough to find it feel like they’ve won the lottery, but they’re paying 30-40% of their household income for this care.”
Richards added that adequate child care would boost Vermont’s economy by $755 million.
“We need sustained public investment to have enough child care to meet demand, be of high quality, and enable parents to afford and access it,” Richards continued. “As you can see, that’s a huge barrier to employment.”
She says that will only come with major systemic changes.
In the meantime, those at Smugglers Notch are eager to welcome more children into their programs.
“We have kids who have come here who know the ropes and are thrilled to be here, but then bring that energy to the program for all the kids here on vacation,” said Harley Johnson, director of programs. for kids from Smugglers Notch.
Citron said they will be rolling out this new perk in phases.
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