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Date: September 22, 2021
Media Contact: James BernsenPhone: 512-463-8556
Subsidized Child Care Program Expandedwith Emphasis on Industries Hit Hardest by the Pandemic
AUSTIN – The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is providing extra help to the service industry, which was hit hard by the pandemic, by providing 12 months of free child care to low-income parents who are employed in the service industry. TWC has an existing child care subsidy program designed to assist low-wage workers in paying for the cost of child care. The new Service Industry Recovery (SIR) program will use federal COVID-relief funds to provide an extra focus on workers in the service industry.
“TWC’s child care assistance program provides an important subsidy many Texas families use to enter the workforce” said TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel. “This Service Industry Recovery program provides additional funding to ensure service industry employers maintain access to quality child care as they play an important role in the state’s economic success.”
The industries targeted include low-wage workers in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry, as well as accomodations, food services and retail trade. These industries were some of the greatest impacted by the pandemic.
“For many Texans, lack of access to affordable, quality child care is sometimes the biggest roadblock to getting a job,” said Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “Workers should not have to choose between their families and their jobs. They need and want to do both, and this program helps them do that.”
While TWC is targeting aspects of the service sector with SIR child care, all income-eligible families continue to have access to TWC’s regular low-income child care subsidy program. This new program targeting service industries will provide for an initial 12 months of eligibility. Continued eligibility following this time period will be conditioned on families applying for and meeting the regular child care eligibility requirements.
“Service industries are crucial to our state’s economy,” said Commissioner Representing Employers Aaron Demerson. “Assisting with getting our Texans back to work helps our Texas employers bounce back, which means a stronger recovery for all of Texas.”
The $500 million program is funded by a Child Care Development Block Grant through the federal CARES, ARPA and CRRSAA recovery legislation passed by Congress. The SIR program is being implemented through grants to the 28 Workforce Development Boards across Texas. Find your local board here.