In a partnership with the Willamalane Parks and Recreation District, the University of Oregon has provided financial support for early childcare facilities.
This article originally appeared in Around the O on July 28th, 2023.
The University of Oregon has reached an agreement with Willamalane Parks and Recreation District to support the expansion of its child care services.
The one-time investment provides financial support for facility improvements and new construction that allows for additional enrollment by fall of 2024 with space reserved for children of UO employees.
“We are aware of the impact that limited access to child care services has on UO employees,” said Mark Schmelz, vice president and chief human resources officer. “Investing in local child care programs is a creative solution developed in collaboration with United Academics to help address child care shortages within the community, which affect parents working at the university.”
The agreement with Willamalane originates from terms of the current United Academics collective bargaining agreement for represented faculty members. The agreement establishes a pool of funds to help provide necessary one-time funding to organizations establishing or expanding child care services, in exchange for guaranteed spots for UO faculty and staff.
“Having more local care facilities available has been a longstanding union priority because many of our faculty clearly stated it would greatly benefit them,” said Deborah Green, executive vice president of United Academics. “This partnership demonstrates the creative solutions that can be achieved when the union and administration work together to solve issues and enhance working conditions.”
Investments under the agreement provision are guided by a committee consisting of representatives from United Academics and the university. Additional funds remain and the committee is working on future opportunities.
While the expansion at Willamalane does not resolve the challenges of access to child care, it is an important step in creating additional options to existing child care resources offered by the UO, Schmelz said.
The partnership with Willamalane will be an additional child care option to complement existing UO programs at Vivian Olum Child Development Center and Moss Street Children’s Center. The university will continue to provide employees a Care.com premium membership as an additional resource to meeting their individual caregiving needs.