JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va. (DC News Now) — West Virginia’s eastern panhandle is a fast-growing region but that growth is facing obstacles because of a lack of child care.
Gino Sisco recruits new businesses for Jefferson County. He said there is one “significant challenge” to the effort.
“A lot of time businesses have cited the difficulty of recruiting, retaining and expanding due to a lack of child care options for their employees,” Sisco said.
Neighboring Frederick County, Md. and Berkeley County, W.Va. have a competitive advantage.
“When we’re looking at our businesses being competitive in the workforce, in retaining workforce, we need to increase capacity so that employees can find childcare,” Edwina Benites, executive director of the authority, said.
Benites and Sisco said they are looking to build a sold niche for child care providers in the area.
“We’re looking to find providers from outside the county to come into the county,” Benites said. “We’re also looking to grow our own.”
Trade and vocational schools in the region are also helping.
“We’re really trying to make it easier for businesses to come here and find the employees they’re looking for,” Sisco said. “Child care is really such a hinderance in this county. It’s leading to a lot of our employable young to move outside the county.”
Benites and Sisco said they hope to double child care capacity in the county on a fast track.