MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – With childcare a serious concern for parents across the region, Marquette-Alger RESA hosted an event Wednesday to come up with solutions.

The Upper Peninsula is in the midst of a childcare crisis that impacts the entire community. With 63% of employees missing at least one day of work every three months due to childcare related reasons, and 15% of workers leaving their jobs because of lack of childcare options. The numbers reflect that only 31% of Michigan’s childcare needs are being met. These alarming numbers are the reason for the formation of the Upper Peninsula Childcare Task Force, who met for the first time in person Wednesday at the MARESA offices in Marquette. Some 35 concerned childcare advocates met to exchange ideas on how to solves this ongoing crisis.

“Today marks the first day that the Upper Peninsula Child Care Task Force is coming together to meet in person after about two years of meeting virtually,” said Janie McNabb, childcare advocate. “we’re here to talk about solutions to the childcare crisis. It really is a crisis especially in the U.P. We have data that indicates that right now we have about 29% of the need met for childcare across the whole Upper Peninsula. So, part of what we’re doing today is prioritizing, figuring out what are our best bets for solving this crisis across the U.P. So today, we’ll be coming up with our list of strategies, the way we’re going to prioritize those strategies and it will result in an action plan.”

McNabb identified lack of childcare workers as a key factor in this crisis, citing low pay as the primary reason people choose not to pursue a career in childcare. She goes on to encourage parents and employers to explore Michigan’s Tri-Share program that can lower an individuals childcare costs by 66% as the costs are divided between employers, the State of Michigan, and individuals.

To aid in solutions on childcare needs in the Upper Peninsula, the task force has created a survey. Click here to take the survey.