Guest Column: Montana Child Care Business Connect Champions Child Care from Within

"Three times as many children as there are licensed child care slots," Caitlin Jensen writes on the Zero to Five Montana website.

"That doesn't just affect parents, it affects the growth of our entire state.

Forty percent of Montana businesses say they are unable to recruit or retain a qualified workforce because of a lack of child care, with 70,000 parents reporting that they are not fully participating in the labor force due to this same overwhelming problem."

Jensen is the executive director of Montana Child Care Business Connect, a statewide hub for child care business development and innovation.

Its mission: "to support the success of existing child care providers and inspire other entrepreneurs and employers to invest in and support child care systems in their communities."

The state's child care deserts, or areas with three times as many children as licensed child care slots, affect 60% of Montana counties, Jensen writes.

"It's not just my community or the neighboring town over, it's all of our communities," she writes.

"And it's going to take all of us to find the solution.

That's why Zero to Five Montana's Child Care Business Connect exists....

And it doesn't just start and stop with Connect....

We recognize that while the entire state may face

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