Nebraska continued its 11th straight month of record employment in May, according to information released by Governor Ricketts, and the state’s 1.9% unemployment rate remains the lowest in the nation. Nebraska also ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for labor force participation, with 70% of eligible Nebraskans at work.
Employers statewide continue to struggle to fill open positions. One reason? Lack of access to quality child care. In our series, “Investing in Child Care,” we’re highlighting how Nebraska businesses are leading efforts in their communities to support working parents and help build their local economy. Today’s case study features Memorial Health Care Systems in Seward, which has offered on-site child care for its health care workforce for more than 30 years.
Memorial Health Care Systems, comprised of an award-winning critical access hospital in Seward, three clinics and a physical therapy site, employs about 265 full-time, part-time and contract professionals across its locations in Seward, Milford and Utica. In 2020, its Child Development Center was expanded with a state-of-the-art facility and now serves 30 children from infants to school-age.
Addresses employees’ child care challenges
On-site early care and education programs can help Nebraska businesses address their employees’ child care challenges, which came to a head during the COVID-19 crisis. This is particularly true for health care professionals, especially women performing direct patient care, who are often on the frontline of health emergencies. Memorial Health Care System’s hospital and clinics remained open to serve patients during the pandemic, and its child development center remained open to care for their children. With access to high-quality, on-site care, Memorial Health Care Systems’ working parents could stay focused on patients knowing their children were in a safe, stable and educational environment.
When it comes to recruiting new health care workers, access to on-site child care is an appealing benefit for young families looking to settle down in southeast Nebraska, said Corey Mann, director of human resources for Memorial Health Care Systems.
“They see the commitment of the organization toward child care. Knowing they may be starting families or already have young families, it’s something that really piques their interest,” Mann said. “I’m only aware of about four to five critical access hospitals around the state that have child care centers, so it’s a good selling point.”
Check out Investing in Child Care: Memorial Health Care Systems to learn more about how on-site child care supports health care workers in Seward County.
More in the Investing in Child Care series: