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ICYMI: Shaheen Tours Child Care Center, Discusses Industry Shortages; Hosts Roundtable on Housing Crisis

Childrens Center Lebanon

Senator Shaheen meets with stakeholders to discuss child care in New Hampshire.

Greensource 8.8upper valley loan fund

[Left] Shaheen meets with employees on a tour of GreenSource.  [Right] Shaheen participates in a roundtable discussion on affordable housing.

(Lebanon, NH) - This week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) toured the Children’s Learning Center of the Upper Valley, a local child care center, where she heard from stakeholders and participants in the center’s the “Career Cultivator” pilot program about the ongoing workforce shortage that’s contributing to the child care crisis in New Hampshire.

“I was inspired by the innovative work being piloted in Lebanon to address the child care workforce shortage that has led to closed classrooms at child care centers across New Hampshire,” said Senator Shaheen. “Child care must be prioritized and we must do all we can to bolster child care workforce recruitment and retention so that we can add deeply-needed slots for working families. The work being spearheaded at the Children’s Learning Center of the Upper Valley is an impressive, creative model that prepares aspiring child care teachers and helps make entry into the early childhood education field possible. I am proud to have supported a request for Congressionally Directed Spending funding to support the expansion of this program, and I am hopeful that their approach can be duplicated across our state and country.”

While touring the Center, Shaheen learned more about “Career Cultivator,” the early childhood education workforce recruitment/retention model being led by the Early Care and Education Association (ECEA) and met with current trainees going through the training program. Senator Shaheen was joined by Amy Brooks (Executive Director, ECEA) Lebanon Mayor McNamara, NH State Senator Sue Prentiss, NH State Representative Susan Almy, child care center staff and regional stakeholders.

In the Senate, Shaheen has been a champion for funding to support child care and early education. Earlier this year, Shaheen joined U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) in reintroducing the Childcare Workforce and Facilities Act to address the national shortage of affordable, quality child care, especially in rural communities. In the government funding bill for fiscal year (FY) 2023, Senator Shaheen worked to include a $1.86 billion increase to $8.02 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants to states, as well as a $960 million increase to Head Start, funding the program at nearly $12 billion for FY 2023. The new law additionally includes an increase of $25 million to $315 million for Preschool Development Grants. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she led efforts in Congress to assist the child care sector. In the emergency COVID-19 relief legislation that passed Congress and was signed into law in 2020 and the American Rescue Plan, Shaheen successfully included language that provided $50 billion in urgently needed support for child care.  
Later in the day, Shaheen hosted a roundtable discussion on the ongoing housing crisis in the Upper Valley and other New Hampshire communities. Mayor McNamara, NH State Senator Sue Prentiss, State Representative Susan Almy and members and stakeholders of the Upper Valley Loan Fund joined Shaheen for the discussion. The group talked through challenges they are experiencing regarding the lack of affordable housing for the workforce in the area and the steps they’re taking together to build more workforce housing.

“Housing affordability is an issue in every part of New Hampshire. Simply put, we need more reasonably priced options for people across the state,” said Senator Shaheen. “I was glad to have the opportunity to speak with Mayor McNamara, State Senator Prentiss, State Representative Almy and other local stakeholders about the need to prioritize this issue and how we can work collectively to tackle it.”

For her third stop of the day, Senator Shaheen visited GreenSource Fabrication in Charlestown to discuss the potential impact of the CHIPS Act on New Hampshire’s manufacturing sector. There, she toured GreenSource’s manufacturing facility and met with engineers and employees. Senator Shaheen’s visit came just ahead of the one-year anniversary of the CHIPS Act being signed into law.

“I want to thank the employees of GreenSource for the insightful tour of their facilities and engaging conversation about the impacts of the CHIPS Act,” said Senator Shaheen. “Investing in our domestic supply chain is crucial to both our national and economic security, and I look forward to seeing this historic law in action here in New Hampshire.”

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