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Sky Harbor working to provide on-site childcare for workers

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Posted at 5:44 PM, Nov 03, 2021

PHOENIX — Airport workers looking to balance work and home life will soon be getting some help.

Sky Harbor Airport is home to 20,000 employees. Many of them work odd hours, so juggling work and home life can get difficult, especially when it comes to affordable childcare.

“In the additional research we did to study the area we know there aren’t that many options in this specific geographical region,” said Special Projects Administrator Matthew Heil.

After surveying around 800 companies at the airport, Heil said 600 employees indicated they would be interested in on-site childcare. So, the airport decided to create its own facility.

“We would not be building a new structure," Heil said. "What we are looking at are facilities that the Aviation Department already owns that could be modified for this purpose.“

In the meantime, even before construction, he said, qualified employees can get vouchers to help cover childcare at other childcare centers.

The total cost for the project is $5 million. Some of that will come from the American Rescue Plan that Congress passed.

A million dollars will be earmarked for construction and the rest will be used toward vouchers, Heil said. When the federal money is used, employees will be charged a reasonable rate.

“So the child care facility, we would expect, would be self-sustaining,“ he said.

While details are still being decided, the survey said employees would prefer the facility to be open between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. He said they may also provide vouchers for those who work outside those hours.

The airport is currently looking to hire another company to consult with on the vouchers and to eventually manage the childcare facility.

Heil said he hopes to open the new childcare center within the next nine to 12 months.