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November 13, 2019

Opportunities Lost 2.0 - Unveiling the Advancing Opportunities Report

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On Monday, MAC and GEEARS hosted Opportunities Lost 2.0: How Employers Can Support Families with Young Children, to discuss the importance of early childhood education and quality child care.

The event kicked off with a presentation from Alisa Nadler from Working Mother Media discussing their 100 Best Companies list. Their list ranks companies on six key areas, such as paid time off, benefits, and company culture. The two metro Atlanta companies to make the list were Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and WellStar Health System.

Tim Cairl, MAC’s Director, Education Policy, and Hanah Goldberg, Director, Research and Public Policy with GEEARS, presented the first Opportunities Lost report and the new report, Advancing Opportunity: Parents’ Solutions to Georgia’s Childcare Challenges.

Some highlights of the Opportunities Lost Report:

  • Over half of parents with children under 5 reported missing days of work in the past 6 months due to child care issues, for an average of 3.5 days
  • Childcare challenges lead to at least $1.75 billion in losses in economic activity annually

The latest report, Advancing Opportunity, includes recommendations for employers, policymakers and higher education institutions. As part of the presentation, MAC & GEEARS unveiled a new video with examples of those recommendations from the companies and institutions themselves: 

Some proposed recommendations for employers from the Advancing Opportunity Report:

  • On-site or near-site child care
  • Paid family/medical/sick leave
  • Flex time

An employer panel discussion featured Secret Holland, Director of Human Resources & Community Affairs at Gas South, Jon Williams, President & CEO of W&A Engineering, Julie Brehm, Senior Vice President, Human Resources at Georgia-Pacific and Deisha Barnett, Chief Brand & Communications Officer at Metro Atlanta Chamber. All three panelists stressed that family friendly policies are crucial to employee engagement and talent retention. As Julie put it, “in order to attract the best talent, you have to have good family benefits packages.” Secret added that at Gas South, all of their family benefits are available to all of their employees, hourly or salaried. From the perspective of a smaller company, Jon explained some of the difficulties for small businesses to implement benefits such as onsite childcare.

Mindy Binderman, Executive Director of GEEARS, closed it out by speaking briefly about the new report, Advancing Opportunity, that includes recommendations for policymakers, employers, and higher education.

Read the new Advancing Opportunity: Parents' Solutions to Georgia's Childcare Challenges report here.

Read the presentation from the event here.

Read the original Opportunities Lost report here. 

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