In January 2012, the unemployment rate in the state of Delaware stood at 7.2%. With parents at home and not the workplace, the need for before, after and out of school youth services stood at historic lows, and service agencies like Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware felt the impact. Contributions were down, along with Club attendance, limiting opportunities to impact youth positively and to provide a boost to the local economy.
By December 2015, the Delaware economy improved dramatically as evidenced by an unemployment rate decrease to 4.6%. Unfortunately, wage growth did not follow along with unemployment; from 2009-2014, Delaware was the only state to see hourly wages decrease (The Economist). Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware’s role in employment improvement cannot be underestimated.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware serves a diverse community of more than 36,000 young people and their families, with over 70% of our parents qualifying for public assistance. What drives them to re-enter the workforce? Part of the answer lies in Boys & Girls Club before, after and out school services provided at low or even no cost. Without our services, fees for a childcare provider would consume most, if not all of a low wage-earner’s salary. Clubs help families to be economically productive.
In May 2016, Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware published results of an independent economic impact study based on data collected in 2014 and 2015. The results showed that an investment of $1.00 returned $13.91 to the Delaware economy on an annual basis. A number of factors made up this return – income gains from higher graduation rates, volunteerism, and criminal justice system savings, among others. The largest component? Parental earnings, which represented $4 of the $13.91, equating to $64 million each year in annual earnings for our families.
During school hours, parents are available to work while their children attend school. However, after the school bell rings and children leave the classroom, parents face a difficult decision: continue working and leave their children unsupervised or stop working and reduce their family earnings? Boys & Girls Club services enable parents to enter or remain in the workforce during non-school hours knowing that their children are safe, supervised and engaged in quality educational programming.
Childcare done right allows parents to work, children to thrive and economies to grow.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Wellons is President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware. Prior to starting with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware in 2012, he held leadership positions with the Buccini/Pollin Group, Bank of America, MBNA America, KPMG Australia, and KPMG Consulting U.S. To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware, visit bgclubs.org . John can be reached at JWellons@bgclubs.org or 302-658-1870.