Rosen, Ernst introduce bill to expand SBA loans for non-profit child care providers

By: - March 7, 2023 10:22 am

“Access to child care is one of the primary barriers preventing the potential workforce from converting to the active workforce in our region,” said Mary Beth Sewald of the Vegas Chamber. (Getty Images)

Nevada’s business community continues to signal the need for lawmakers at both the state and federal level to address child care availability and affordability.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) on Tuesday announced she and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) reintroduced the Small Business Child Care Investment Act — legislation designed to expand the types of federal loan programs available to non-profit child care providers. Rosen and Ernst both sit on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Currently, non-profit child care providers cannot access the same Small Business Administration (SBA) loans that for-profit providers can, according to Rosen’s office. For-profit providers have access to larger and more flexible loan programs, whereas non-profits are limited to the SBA’s microloan programs — even if they would otherwise be eligible.

Rosen’s legislation is endorsed by several Nevada business leaders, including Ann Silver, CEO of the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce, and Mary Beth Sewald,​​ president and CEO of the Vegas Chamber.

“Access to child care is one of the primary barriers preventing the potential workforce from converting to the active workforce in our region,” said Sewald in a statement.

“Without adequate and affordable childcare, parents or guardians can’t work,” echoed Silver in a statement. “And when they can’t work, they can’t afford the basic necessities. It’s an endless loop of generational poverty, children without adequate literacy skills, and behavioral health issues.”

Silver told the Current last month that Gov. Joe Lombardo’s transition team committee on workforce development, which she chaired, recommended tying economic development to child care and housing.

Similarly, the Governor’s Workforce Development Board — part of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation (GOWINN) — recently approved a Childcare Policy Report emphasizing child care as a critical barrier contributing to labor shortages and outlining recommendations.

A survey of members of the business community done in conjunction with that report found 94.5% believe access to child care could improve workforce retention, 75.5% believe access would provide better business stability, and 67.8% believe their business would experience more productivity.

Among the GOWINN workforce development report’s recommendations was encouraging use of 45F, a federal tax credit for employers who invest in child care, which can include operating an on-site daycare for workers or contracting with a third-party child care provider.

Over the course of the pandemic, hundreds of millions of dollars in federal relief has been earmarked for the child care industry — first relief dollars helped keep child care centers open during business closures, then later dollars were designated to help grow the industry and increase access for low-income families through subsidies.

All of Nevada — meaning every county — is considered a child care desert. It’s estimated that 74% of children ages 0 to 5 lack access to licensed child care.

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, three children and one mutt.