City Will Open Employee Child Care Center Summer 2022
The City of Grand Junction is known to be a very innovative and flexible organization. As challenges surface within the community and internally among staff, the city rallies to find solutions. Child care was one such challenge that city employees expressed a need for. Once again, the city took action.
“In a 2018 child care survey, ‘affordability of child care’ and ‘availability of child care’ were identified as issues relating to individuals’ ability to work,” said Emily Krause, Recreation Superintendent for the City of Grand Junction. Krause supervises the cutting-edge initiative to offer child care to City workers. “Having adequate child care is a huge issue affecting today’s workforce, this additional benefit for City of Grand Junction employees will hopefully allow us to continue to hire and retain quality employees.”
Having employer-sponsored child care is an appealing prospect but still surprisingly rare in today’s world. “When seeking employment, employees look at medical benefits, pay incentives and many other factors when selecting who they want to work for or continue to work for,” Emily said.
At the end of 2021, after City Council approved funds for the building and operating an employee child care center, the City was awarded a grant for $800,000 from the State of Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Early Childhood, which makes up 40 percent of the total project cost. In response, City Council then approved an additional $600,000 in funding to expand the facility from three rooms to five. Recently, the City of Grand Junction secured $1.9 million in funding and grants to build and operate an employee childcare center slated to open summer of 2022.
“We did an employee survey last year to quantify the need for childcare, and we believe that this facility has the capacity to cover employees who expressed that need,” Emily said. The City of Grand Junction’s Child Care Facility can serve around 60 children from age 6 weeks to 5 years. While employees will have to pay for childcare, the pricing is affordable, and they have the first choice of enrollment in the available spots.
An additional benefit of the City’s employee childcare is that it’s formulated around the need for flexible work schedules that many City employees have. For example, a public safety officer who only works three weekdays will not have to pay for five days of childcare per week — they will only pay for the days their child attends.
While some specifics of the daycare operations are still in flux based on enrollment – such as exact numbers of daycare providers and the age and classroom distribution of children – as a state-licensed facility, there will be a minimum of two teachers per room. Meanwhile, the employee childcare center director has already been hired and recruitment is underway for early childhood teachers and aides.
“There are many reasons the City of Grand Junction is an amazing place to work,” Emily said. “But the fact that the City is prioritizing employee benefits through innovation and spearheading child care efforts really speaks volumes about who we are as an organization.”
Find out more about job opportunities at the City of Grand Junction.