Child Care Services: The post-pandemic landscape has spurred a transformative shift in the approach to workforce amenities at airports across the United States. A notable trend gaining traction is the provision of affordable child care services for employees, presenting a game-changing solution for working parents.
At Pittsburgh Airport, a staggering 61 daycares cater to children, ensuring parents like Shertzer can seamlessly balance their careers while their 8-month-old baby receives quality care. Shertzer, whose husband works as a wildlife manager at the airport, praises the convenience and peace of mind the child care facility brings to their lives.
Prioritizing the well-being of their workforce, the Pittsburgh Airport Authority, in collaboration with La Petite Academy, orchestrates a child care system that predominantly serves the airport’s 475 employees and approximately 6,000 concessionaires, cleaners, and construction workers. Remarkably, tuition costs have been reduced by 10% compared to standard rates, a significant boon for low-wage employees, particularly those in food, beverage, and retail positions.
The significance of on-site child care services stretches beyond alleviating the daily challenges faced by working parents. By offering a supportive foundation, airports hope to attract and retain employees, especially women who have traditionally faced obstacles in accessing child care facilities, particularly in remote airport locations.
A study by Motherly revealed that inadequate child care options compelled 43% of women to change or quit their jobs, while 52% of stay-at-home moms yearned for affordable daycares. The pandemic’s impact led to rising child care costs and increased demand for caregivers, further emphasizing the necessity for accessible child care services.
Recognizing the significance of child care for their workforce, federal agencies, under the guidance of the Biden administration, explored ways to promote affordable child care options and implement progressive labor practices. The First Lady, Jill Biden, recently lauded the child care services available at Pittsburgh Airport, emphasizing the positive influence it has on enabling employees to focus on their careers without the added stress of child care concerns.
The ripple effect of this transformative trend extends to other airports in the country. Denver International Airport and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport are considering implementing child care services, recognizing the profound impact on their workforce’s well-being and productivity.
Southwest, American, and JetBlue are already offering tuition credits for KinderCare, while Delta provides 25 days of free child care during emergencies. However, it is crucial to note that, despite the clear advantages, only a small number of airports in the United States presently offer daycare services.
In the late 1980s, Miami International Airport pioneered a child care center catering to its employees’ children, but space constraints eventually led to its discontinuation in the early 2000s. In contrast, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) currently boast conveniently located child care services, aiming to address workforce needs effectively.
SFO, through Palcare, has funded extended-hour child care services since 1993, offering significant support to airport employees. LAX reopened the First Flight Child Development Center in October, managed by La Petite Academy, providing working parents with a dependable and cost-effective solution.
These innovative efforts demonstrate airports’ commitment to creating an inclusive and supportive work environment, reinforcing the idea that quality child care is more than a mere convenience—it is a powerful catalyst for a thriving and engaged workforce. As airports rally behind this transformative approach, they endeavor to inspire other industries to recognize the significance of work-life balance and pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future.