Governor says child care shortage is one of area’s main workforce challenges
The child care shortage in Fort Dodge and Webster County is directly impacting job recruitment to an area where population has declined for decades, according to information shared during a meeting with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday. The meeting, held at the Fort Dodge Public Library, was hosted by Linking Families and Communities.
“We have had trouble recruiting physicians because they can’t find quality child care for their kids,” said Jessica Smith, supervisor of wellness services and diabetes center at UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge. “That’s a struggle for us.”
Darci Nemmers, senior administrative assistant for Cargill, revealed that Cargill faces similar challenges with recruitment and retention.
“We are open 24 hours, seven days a week,” Nemmers said. “Our technicians run on a 12-hour shift. Some of the issues they run into is lack of providers and providers that will run limited hours. That’s kind of a problem with them as well. We do have a lot of young engineers that move in with their families. I know when they were looking for places to live, a big thing was, ‘where can I find day care providers?’ Are they going to end up in Webster City, Manson or Humboldt because they can find day care providers there?”
Reynolds acknowledged that day care is interwoven with workforce challenges