Reliable, flexible childcare is a major concern for working parents. In fact, the 2021 University of Illinois study Women and Child Care in Illinois: A Survey of Working Mothers During the COVID-19 Pandemic — University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
found that lack of childcare was one of the most significant reasons that 40 percent of Illinois working mothers either left the workforce entirely or greatly reduced their hours from March 2020 to March 2021.
Several entities in Moline, Illinois, are working to address lack of childcare and to bolster the region’s workforce.
Western Illinois University’s Quad Cities (WIU-QC) Campus has partnered with Gorman & Company to place a new childcare facility in Enterprise Lofts, a Gorman-owned apartment building in downtown Moline. The Lofts were built to support worker housing at mixed levels
of income. The bi-lingual childcare facility will be available to parents who work either first or second shift, supplying a much-needed option for individuals who do not work a 9 to 5 job.
Kristi Mindrup, WIU's Vice President of Quad Cities Campus Operations, said the new childcare center "creates a safe and welcoming space to provide a solid learning foundation and a much-needed service."
Mindrup also said the center also would provide a hands-on learning environment for WIU early childhood students as they prepared for a career in childcare and teaching.
"We are thrilled to collaborate with Mayor Rayapati, Gorman (& Company) and many community supporters to innovate and connect Western's tradition of teacher education to enhance the quality of life in our city and our region."
The city of Moline is tackling the childcare shortage in an added way. The City Council recently approved the use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to create a Childcare/Workforce Infrastructure Forgivable Loan Program. The $10,000 to $50,000 loans will be offered to new or existing childcare providers so that they might stay in business, expand or open new facilities.
Priority will be given to providers that offer care during non-traditional hours, particularly second and third shifts, overnights and weekends, and those equipped to care for infants, toddlers and children with special needs.