Today, the NC Early Childhood Foundation’s Family Forward NC released our second biennial report showcasing two years of exponential growth as COVID-19 heightens the need for family-friendly workplaces across North Carolina.
More than ever, employers need information and assistance to navigate remaining open, reopening, and attracting and retaining workers to avoid staffing shortages. And working parents need family-friendly workplaces as they balance caring for their families and workplace needs. Employee supports—especially for working parents—have been a key part of rebuilding and resilience. The significant rise in interest in Family Forward NC attests to the value of our COVID-responsive resources, virtual programming, and one-to-one guidance that contributes to NC’s economic recovery plan.
2022 and beyond
This year, we will launch a Family Forward NC certification program, allowing NC employers to become certified as a family-friendly workplace. We are also expanding Family Forward beyond North Carolina by working with organizations in other states to adapt the work to their communities.
“The ability to find high-quality employees has clearly become the most important issue to ensure North Carolina’s competitiveness. Based on data and evidence that is available, it shows that it has been a barrier for many working parents, and especially for working mothers—not only working mothers—but those who are taking care of maybe their elderly parents or loved ones. During the pandemic it just highlighted and, I think, really elevated to everyone’s attention the importance of not only other essential workers, but those who are in the child care space.”
– Machelle Baker Sanders, Secretary of the NC Department of Commerce, at the 2021 NCWorks Partnership Conference