More Americans are receiving their COVID19 vaccine, but the pandemic has not ended yet. During this time, the importance of creating safe and nurturing spaces for the children of working parents in Austin becomes more apparent. Many providers seek to continue offering care but have limited resources to do so.

To support them, Workforce Solutions Capital Area held curbside pickup events for providers to receive cleaning and PPE supplies at no cost on April 23 and 24 at First Workers Day Labor Center in Austin. The supplies included masks donated by Bank of America.

Over the two days, 198 providers picked up pallets of supplies, including hand soap and sanitizer, gloves and paper towels, bath tissue and bleach—more than 7,000 items in total. These providers care for 8,425 children across Travis County.

Thelma Herrera is the director at Rosie’s Day Care #3, where 10 staff care for 45 children. The center is open full time with five classrooms.

“I was excited when I heard about this,” Thelma said. “It’s hard to go place to place to find things, because one store might have something and another one doesn’t. This event is very helpful for us to keep our center and our children safe. It helps out a lot and I appreciate it.

“We will sanitize the kitchen and the bathrooms, the doorknobs, just about everything, and the toys the children play with throughout the day,” Thelma said.

“I want to thank Workforce Solutions and Bank of America for helping with the supplies. I really appreciate it, and I’m sure all the other providers also appreciate everything you do for us.”

Child Care Services staff load cleaning supplies in a provider's car

At Promiseland Learning Center, 30 staff care for 200 children in the learning center and in afternoon care. Promiseland is a 4-star rated provider in the Texas Rising Star program, the highest rating available.

“Since the first time Workforce Solutions did this in August 2020, it has been such a blessing for us, because of COVID and the restrictions,” said director Caren Vera.

“In the beginning, we really couldn’t get ahold of everything. These events have literally carried us through the whole process,” she said.

“Our numbers never recovered from COVID. On a Friday, we had 154 children in our learning center and on Monday it went down to 64. Any help was absolutely welcome at that point. We were terrified that we would go out of business. Thankfully, Workforce Solutions stepped up and helped us and it has been a blessing through the whole entire year,” said Caren.

The Texas Rising Star program is for child care providers who meet quality requirements that exceed the state’s minimum licensing standards and that are designed to enhance the intellectual, physical, and social development of children in care. In return for their commitment to quality, providers receive numerous benefits including enhanced reimbursement rates, learning materials and equipment, child development college course scholarships, and more.

“We can continue to do the work we are called to do and that we love. Caring for children is our passion,” Caren said.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area is committed to supporting providers in Austin who care for the children of our region’s workforce. By providing care in a safe and nurturing environment, Austin’s child care providers are helping to develop a future workforce that is skilled and productive. Learn more about how we support child care providers on our website.

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