With 65 percent of children under age six having all of their parents in the labor force, most families with young children require some form of nonparental early child care. Considering trends in the familial division of labor, family structure, and the composition of the labor force, reliance on early child care will likely increase. For the most part, contemporary policies and the modern economy necessitate that all parents work and yet, early child care is not part of the workforce infrastructure. Relative to comparable developed nations with more supportive family policies—such as paid family leave, protections for demanding a change to part-time work schedules, and publicly provided child care services—the labor force participation rate of women in the United States has fallen behind, coming in between 2 and 14 percentage points lower than 19 other developed nations in 2016.3 Evidence shows that in the United States, options for licensed early child care have been persistently deficient in meeting the needs of working parents. Despite successful experiments with nearly universal care and multiple attempts at passing legislation in support of comprehensive universal early child care in the United States, there has been little progress in addressing the need for high-quality early child care to support working parents.
The care center is licensed with the state and can support up to 12 children ages 0 to 5 each day. Right now, the hotel employs two full-time preschool teachers and plans to look for two other part-time caregivers.
Employees get a “hefty” discount to use the service, said Sara Trautmann, human resources director for Billings Hotel and Convention Center.
Trautmann took the lead on the project and started talking to Billings Hotel and Convention Center owner, Jeff Muri. Being a mother drove her to push the initiative forward, Trautmann said. It’s the only hotel in Billings to provide an on-site service.