The Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act of 2022, which was passed in August 2022 provides $52.7 billion in federal funding to revitalize the U.S. semiconductor industry. The CHIPS and Science Act is designed to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing, solidify America’s technological leadership, and promote U.S. economic and national security.
These major investments in the semiconductor workforce are also intended to create and support good-paying jobs across the industry. In fact, the CHIPS Program Office estimates that building and operating the semiconductor fabrication facilities eligible for awards under the first funding opportunity could require more than 100,000 construction workers to build the facilities and 90,000 workers to operate them. As a result, recruiting, training, and retaining a large, skilled, and diverse workforce will be critical to strengthening the U.S. semiconductor ecosystem – and child care is a critical component.
What are the CHIPS child care requirements?
Applicants requesting Direct Funding over $150 million must submit a plan to provide access to child care for facility and construction workers, e.g., through on- or near-site child care, pre-arranged agreements with existing child care providers, child care subsidies, or other similar measures. Further, all applicants, regardless of funding, are also encouraged to submit child care with their application. The instructions stipulate that child care should be:
- Affordable: Costs should be within reach for low- and medium-income households
- Accessible: Care should be provided at a convenient location with hours that meet workers’ needs
- Reliable: Care should grant workers confidence that they will not need to miss work for unexpected child care issues
- High-Quality: Care should be provided in a safe and healthy environment that families can trust and that nurtures the healthy growth and development of children.
So how do semiconductor manufacturers meet these requirements so they can get the funding to achieve the goals of the CHIP ACT? Fortunately, Care for Business can help.
Care for Business solutions help organizations meet child care requirements
Care for Business is uniquely positioned to assist organizations in developing the child care plan required through the CHIPS ACT application process. Here’s how Care solutions meet CHIPS ACT child care plan requirements.
Requirements #1 and #2 – Affordable and accessible care: Care should be affordable (within reach for low- and medium-income households) and accessible (provided in a convenient location with hours that meet workers’ needs)
- Care Membership: By providing access to Care Membership, employees will have unlimited, premium access to the world’s leading network for finding and booking short- and long-term child care. Employees can search and filter for background-checked caregivers in their area, get matched with caregivers who meet their needs, and book and pay for care directly on the platform. They can also connect with local families to create a nanny share or learning pod. Employers pay the platform fee on behalf of their employees so employees receive unlimited, premium access to the platform. Care Membership helps all employees find affordable, accessible care–including low and medium-income households, employees who need coverage for shift work and non-traditional hours, and families located in child care deserts. In fact, 90% of ZIP codes have background-checked caregivers within 10 miles.
- LifeMart: To further help employees find affordable child care, provide them with access to LifeMart, a members only discount platform that provides exclusive offers on child care including up to 10% off full-time tuition at brand-name child care centers, saving families on average nearly $1,600 per year. Discounts are also available for au-pairs, nannies, and children’s activities.
- Care Specialists: To further help employees find affordable and accessible child care, provide them with 1:1 assistance from Care Specialists who are experts in the child care field. Care Specialists are accessible 24/7 via telephone or online to assess the care needs of families, identify and pre-screen potential providers, and deliver referrals to providers who best meet their stated budget, location and care needs. This can include child care centers, family day care homes, before-and-after school care, and in-home caregivers who can provide care during non-traditional hours. Care Specialists can also help families find sliding fee scales and sibling discounts. In all instances, Care Specialists save employees time and research and help them find affordable, accessible care so they can get to work.
Requirement: #3: Reliable care (Care should grant workers confidence that they will not need to miss work for unexpected child care issues.)
- Solution: Backup Care is a quality, vetted, and subsidized solution to help employees find care on those days when their regular, ongoing care is unavailable. The Care for Business Backup Care program offers flexible solutions including access to a vetted network of in-home caregivers and child care centers for low or no cost; plus, the option for employees to use caregivers in their own personal network, such as a trusted babysitter, family member or friends, and to submit receipts to get reimbursed for the cost of care. Backup Care provides workers with the confidence that they can get to work even when unexpected child care issues arise, while also helping to increase productivity and reduce absenteeism at manufacturing plans.
Requirement #4: High-quality care (Care should be provided in a safe and healthy environment that families can trust and that nurtures the healthy growth and development of children.)
- Solution: Care for Business Family Care Benefits: All of the family care benefits outlined above provide care in a safe healthy environment that promotes health and well-being of children. Employees can rest assured their loved ones are in good hands with our industry-leading safety standards, including 100% background-checked caregivers on Care Membership and screening of caregivers in our Backup Care network.
Why flexible care options are favored over on-site child care centers
Some manufacturing companies may consider building on- or-near site centers, but they should first carefully weigh their options. In the 2023 Future of Benefits Report, 68% of employers said they favor flexible childcare benefits compared to only 16% who favor on-site childcare. Plus, employees prefer the flexibility of using caregivers who can come into their homes, rather than on-site centers that may not meet their budget or scheduling needs. This is especially true for manufacturing employees who need coverage that extends beyond traditional hours of 9 to 5 to cover shift work and non-traditional schedules. Here are some additional stumbling blocks manufacturing companies should consider:
- Building and operating costs of on-site centers is high, which could drive the cost of care, making it unaffordable for many families
- Staffing the centers could pose serious challenges given the current caregiver shortage
- Building on-site centers can take years to plan and complete – taking focus away from revenue driving priorities and delaying the support working parents need today
First funding applications are open–Care for Business can help
The time to act is now. On February 28, 2023, the CHIPS Program Office released its first funding, which seeks applications for projects for the construction, expansion, or modernization of commercial facilities for the fabrication of leading-edge, current-generation, and mature-node semiconductors. Pre-applications (optional) and full applications for leading-edge facilities will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning March 31, 2023.
Care for Business can help your organization propose child care plans that are affordable and turn-key. Connect with a member of our team today to get started.