'Here & Now' Highlights: Alejandra Ros Pilarz

Here's what a guest on the August 22, 2023 episode said about why keeping child care businesses afloat is important to Wisconsin.

By Frederica Freyberg | Here & Now

August 14, 2023

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A split screen shows Frederica Freyberg and Alejandra Ros Pilarz seated in different locations in the same room, with windows in the background.

Frederica Freyberg and Alejandra Ros Pilarz (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

Gov. Tony Evers called a special legislative session for Sept. 20 to address Wisconsin’s workforce shortage — included in his $1 billion spending proposal for consideration is money to shore up the child care industry, which UW-Madison social work professor Alejandra Ros Pilarz describes as a “failed market.”

Alejandra Ros Pilarz
Professor, UW-Madison Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work

  • When it comes to child care in Wisconsin, parents cannot afford the steep costs and providers cannot afford to raise rates to attract workers without risking families from forgoing daycare to stay home, according to Pilarz. Calling a special session of the Wisconsin Legislature, the governor proposes extending $365 million to support child care providers and help with affordability. The money would replace federal stimulus funding set to sunset. The Republican-controlled Legislature opposes taking action in a special session, saying it’s a “stunt” and call this child care spending “unsustainable.” Pilarz described how such funding helps the worker shortage.
  • Pilarz: “Parents need child care to be able to work. So, if they are working less or not working at all, that obviously impacts their earnings, typically mothers’ earnings, the family’s economic well-being, because they have to sacrifice income. It also impacts the economy because you have productive workers who are stepping out of the labor force and businesses who can’t find workers or who have lots of turnover. Even though [it] most directly impacts children and parents, it really matters to all of us in the economy.”


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