RAPID CITY, S.D. — Many businesses have been experiencing serious staffing shortages, causing a vicious cycle in the need for workers and child care in Rapid City.
A quick Google search shows there are a number of options for child care in Rapid City – but that number is dwindling, and fast.
The issue? A lack of employees – a problem that is now affecting everyone.
“Now we are almost at capacity for what we can take, only due to staffing. We can take a couple babies, and a couple three year olds, and that’s about it. And we’re only half full. So our major issue is staffing, finding people to come in and apply for jobs,” said Pam Ramp, owner Banana Bunch Children’s Learning Center.
And while the YMCA has been fortunate in having high retention rates throughout COVID, the lack of employees at other daycares is starting to affect their capacity.
“Currently we are at capacity at the Child Care Center, at both locations here at the main Y facility and over in the Rapid City Education Center. We currently have a wait list, which tells you the distinct need that we have in this community. We have over 50 infants on the wait list, and we have over 100 preschoolers on the wait list at the Y,” said Keiz Larson, acting YMCA CEO. “And unfortunately, many of the home daycare centers during COVID have closed, so the need is even greater now that it’s ever been before. And it doesn’t help, as many centers struggle to find staffing.”
Regardless of the reasoning, there have just not been enough applicants, or interested parties searching for employment. And unfortunately, it creates a cycle that is also keeping parents out of the workforce.
“If we don’t have workers, then we can’t take more children. Then they can’t get jobs, because they don’t have childcare,” Ramp said.
“With both parents working in our community, childcare becomes a huge necessity in our community. With fewer daycares, fewer people are able to go back to work,” Larson said.
But, daycares are hopeful. School coming to an end signals summer job searches for students, and the aging up of preschoolers – making room for new children.