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BOCA minutes – member meeting 1/23/23

BOCA Minutes – Member Meeting

January 23, 2023 at 3:33 PM

Location of Meeting:

Virtual (GoToMeeting): (recording expires 2/27/23)

In Attendance:

Joseph Tomchak Boys & Girls Club Newport
Tracy Martin-Turgeon Cadence Academy
Rebecca Compton Dr. Day Care
Amy Vogel Dr. Day Care

Martha Lima Early Foundation
Patricia & Gianna Crispino Little Acorn Academy
Marissa Gallagher Hope St ELC
Susan Rachette Kinderdance and Fitness
Tara Rego Little Scholars Preschool
Tracey Brown Apple Blossom Andrea Engle

Nina Pande SkillsRI
Tom Streicher SkillsRI
Sarah McDonald SkillsRI
Sarah Hall Fio
Rick McAuliffe Mayforth Group

Meeting began at 3:33 pm


Guest speaker: Rick McAuliffe, Mayforth Group
Guest speaker: Skills for Rhode Island’s Future
Governor’s Workforce Board of RI updates
Membership payments – new Stripe account for online payments
Upcoming meetings
Member questions & discussion

Next meeting:

February 27, 2023

March 27, 2023 – in person

Meeting Notes:

  • Joe introduced the agenda
  • Joe thanked everyone who participated in surveys and focus groups
  • Nina Pande, SkillsRI – discussed focus groups that have been happening, to quantify the need
    • Survey results were sent to board
    • Came up with high level summaries with recommendations
  • Sarah Hall, Fio went over survey results from focus groups
    • There were 6 groups of directors & owners
    • 1 hour, staff turnover, challenges in hiring, business model changes, root cause, investments that are needed to change business models, supports needed, how folks used COVID relief funds
    • Number 1 challenge spoke about was the difficulty in keeping staff and in hiring staff, especially regarding pay and constraints on how much they can pay staff
    • Reimbursement rates are not sufficient. Disincentives for childcare centers to accept state subsidies.
    • Another finding regarding children in special needs – there has been an increased need since the pandemic.
    • Staff spoke very passionately about feeling undervalued and disrespected. The sector itself does not have a great deal of respect and their needs to be messaging regarding importance of childcare to working parents.
  • Nina – none of this is dissimilar to what State is trying to do. This reinforces everything. They didn’t want to exclude any important themes. Suggested – pick 1-3 recommendations for focus. Pretty exhaustive list. Asked for feedback.
  • Amy – definitely regarding rates, there is a special needs subcommittee now to help bring in funding. Heard at last Commission Meeting – they did receive funding to look at these situations. Feels everyone is saying the same thing.
  • Joe – not a big enough pool of applicants or people interested in the field. Not only are we competing against an already challenged field, but pay is a further barrier. Maybe an apprenticeship program? What would you (Nina & Rick) recommend?
  • Rick McAuliffe – not unique to RI, happening around country. Not unique to childcare (nursing homes, medical, etc). K-12 is having similar issues.  When the Governor signed budget – included was a mandate that the State shall develop a plan to prepare, recruit and retain an early childhood workforce. Thinks this is a great opportunity to take this further to develop a plan. New rates came out in January. There is money for retention and recruitment, but not at the level needed. Great timing to address these issues.
  • Nina – Apprenticeship Track – SkillsRI is doing something similar for healthcare industry. Looking at getting into schools early and often. Help pipeline students into jobs. Help subsidize staff pay to help with career advancement or competitive wages. Pinpoint pain points and pilot around that. Seems like the State has been appreciating the approach.
  • Rick – correct, the three biggest focuses right now are housing, education, and workforce development. Service economy is critical for economic development. The state is scared about lack of workers; agencies are delayed due to lack of workforce. Realize it is the same situation in early childhood. Suggestion – if you know, through national associations, of things that are working in other states, let us know. We really need to engage high schools sooner rather than later.
  • Nina – if there are operational recommendations to make the industry work more efficiently, the State would appreciate hearing suggestions.
  • Rick – extremely important that we focus on what we want to do this year. We need to focus on this issue more than some of the policy things. Important to engage parents. Influential parents in business, nonprofits, academia, etc. that can help advocate for us.
  • Nina – in the spirit of elevating the industry, Rick and members of Center Directors Association, multi-employer job fair. Need to coordinate dates, times, and locations. Find the highest area of need. Send information to Sarah McDonald and Nina to get started with planning. Wants us to help with how it would be run, etc. Get media attention to promote jobs and the industry. Suggested: Tom send out a few dates and we’ll plan
  • Rick – expect a good year this year. Have seen last 2 years be years of easy decisions. Unprecedented federal money. The governor’s budget came out Thursday. Budget doesn’t call for anything of substance in childcare. Last 2 years, received a good amount of money because of federal block money into early childhood education. That is going away this year. Seeing investments in housing, education, but not a lot in early childhood education. Opportunities for investment. Planned: reduce the sales tax (from 7% to 6.85%), gas tax reduced. Governor has proposal for after school facilities. Bill by Rep. Diaz pushing for increase rates. There has been discussion by Senate Pres. to dismantle EOHHS. In our case, DHS is under EOHHS. Something to keep an eye on this year. Will send legislation to pass along to all members. House still has not set Committee assignments yet.
  • Amy – Medicaid falls under EOHHS? Rick – Medicaid director in RI is under EOHHS.
  • Went over upcoming meeting dates and ended the meeting.

Meeting ended at 4:30pm

Next meeting:

February 27, 2023

March 27, 2023 – in person

Minutes submitted by Rebecca Compton