Creating a Be WUCA! Community Includes the Youth

Today’s communities are concerned with keeping their youth and attracting young people to live work and play. Communities across the country are pursuing the same families so special attention is needed to stand above the rest. Businesses need to look at their policies and ask themselves if they are family-friendly. Making a Be WUCA!, family-friendly community begins with two criteria:

  • Provide quality early care and education facilities and;
  • Include youth in all community decisions.

Why should businesses and communities be concerned about their employee childcare problems?

Problems with childcare can adversely affect the job performance of working parents by increasing absenteeism, tardiness, turnover rates, and recruiting and training costs. These, in turn, can adversely affect productivity and work quality and ultimately the competitiveness of the businesses that employ these workers. A study done by AT&T of more than 5,000 of its employees found that 57 percent of the women and 33 percent of the men with children under the age of six had lost time from work in the preceding month due to childcare problems (Fernandez).

In the past, such problems with childcare would be of little concern to employers since few employees were affected and there always seemed to be other workers willing to take the place of those who quit. The labor market today and into the foreseeable future is radically different. The old problem of finding enough employment for rising numbers of workers is now being replaced by the new problem of locating enough workers to fill new jobs requiring technical skills generated by an expanding economy.

Research shows that work-family benefits have a direct impact on employee recruitment and retention. Vanderkolk and Young (1991) studied a small textile manufacturing company in the Southwest that was experiencing a 40 percent turnover rate. The turnover rate dropped dramatically to seven percent after the implementation of a childcare program.

It is critical that employers be able to attract and retain good, productive workers in order to stay competitive in the market. Given the changing composition of America’s labor force and the impact childcare problems can have on worker productivity, businesses should find employer-assisted childcare a cost-effective way to control labor costs and enhance worker productivity.

Be WUCA! Communities Create A Positive Vision for Its Young People!

At a time when many people feel overwhelmed by the problems and challenges facing children and adolescents, communities across the country need to discover new energy in working together toward a positive vision for young people.

Instead of focusing only on reducing risks and intervening in problems, communities need to rebuild and support the foundation of development all young people need.

Uniting a community to nurture the positive development of youth is much like playing in a jazz ensemble. Each musician must know the tune and listen to the other ensemble members; all players must improvise together--sometimes taking the lead and sometimes blending into the background. To create a community-wide commitment to youth, all the "players" need to be an ensemble working toward a common vision of what is needed to promote the healthy development of young people.

If you had a choice to live in a community that did not care about its youth or live in a community that engaged youth, into which community would you want to move your family? Think about it: all counties think they have great schools but I believe all parts of the community are needed to assist youth in education and to recognize as this is the place they wish to live or return with their families because of the importance that is placed on youth.