Worzalla: Initiates community discussion to address local childcare shortage crisis

Stevens Point, Wisconsin (April 13, 2022) — Worzalla, an employee-owned book printer specializing in printing high-quality children’s books, cookbooks, and hard-cover best sellers, is researching ways to address local childcare shortages in Central Wisconsin. Recently, Worzalla hosted a virtual event with over 40 participants representing more than 30 local organizations to discuss opportunities for a collaborative community approach to this challenge. Following the event, partners are formulating a plan to establish a childcare solution in the community.

“Employee recruitment and retention are some of the biggest challenges employers in Stevens Point face today. With quality childcare in high demand and low supply, finding childcare can be a major stressor for employees and it can also be a barrier to employment,” said Brianne Petruzalek, Vice President of Human Resources at Worzalla. “Based on the level of participation in the virtual event, it is evident that Worzalla is not the only employer who recognizes this challenge and its impact.  We look forward to working with the whole community to find a solution.”

After conducting internal research on its 350-employee workforce in March and in talking with several local childcare providers, Worzalla concluded that the two primary concerns regarding childcare are long waitlists and high costs. Consequently, Worzalla reached out to KinderCare, one of the nation’s largest providers of early childhood and school-age education and childcare, to discuss challenges and solutions. Through that initial discussion, KinderCare introduced the concept of an employer consortium, a solution that brings employers together to fund a childcare center for their collective employees.

“Tuesday’s meeting was key in initiating the community discussion on the childcare issue—whether an employer consortium is the right solution is yet to be determined,” said Petruzalek.  “Phase I will provide insight into the needs of the community and KinderCare’s data-driven process will help determine whether an additional childcare center offered through an employer consortium is the best solution for our community.”

Phase One of the plan will launch at the end of April with a needs assessment to survey employees of interested organization’s childcare needs.   Since the virtual event held on April 5th, several organizations have committed to Phase One including Delta Dental, Donaldson, Gamber Johnson, Mid-State Technical College, Monogram, and Wysocki Family of Companies.  After a 6 – 8 week needs assessment to determine if a childcare consortium is the best option, Phase Two will involve an analysis of existing local childcare offerings.

“KinderCare is on the frontlines of the childcare shortage putting us in a unique position to customize a solution for Stevens Point employers,” said Tiffany Styles, Vice President of Benefits Solutions at KinderCare. “Our first step is understanding the needs of the community and will serve as the foundation for financial projections and investments of the consortium members. We look forward to working with Worzalla and other local organizations to successfully address the childcare shortage.”

Employers and community members interested in participating in Phase One are encouraged to reach out to Brianne Petruzalek at [email protected] by the end of the day on Friday, April 15.