Remarks by the First Lady at White House States Convening on Child Care
[As prepared for delivery.]
Thank you, Jen. You and the Gender Policy Council team have been such strong leaders on this issue and I know that the President is grateful for you.
Hello, everyone! It's so wonderful to see such an incredible group of leaders from across the country. I'm proud to welcome you to the White House.
As many of you know, I teach writing at a community college.
And one day a while back, one of my students came in with her 4-year-old. I immediately saw the distress in my student's eyes—and I knew exactly what happened: Her child care had fallen through but she couldn't afford to miss the class. She set up her son with a box of crayons and some paper in the corner of the room, and I tried to give her a smile when I saw her looking at him nervously—praying he'd make it through the class.
I've seen that so many times—or a different version: The mom who misses one day and then another, whose make up work becomes too much to handle until she just sort of fades from our classroom. And I never get the chance to see how brightly she could shine—how high she could rise—if only she had the support to do it.
This is personal to me. And it's personal to Joe. Because he's a parent, too.
And he understands that child care isn't just a nice way to help families. It's a critical piece of strengthening our workforce.
Yesterday, I was in Pittsburgh—which is a part of a new White House initiative focused on cities where growing industries need more workers. Pittsburgh is revitalizing their airport and creating new jobs in the process. And we need to make sure these amazing opportunities are available to everyone.
So leaders there are investing in child care at the airport. That way, workers know that, while they grow their community's infrastructure, their children are safe and growing too.
You've seen the waves that ripple out when a mom is able to pursue a career she loves because she doesn't have to worry where her child will go. When a dad can go back to school or ask for that promotion.
When parents don't have to choose between paying grocery bills and paying the child care provider.
When they can pursue their dreams, knowing that their children are safe and cared for, we all benefit.
And our economy grows in the process.
That's the power of your purpose here, today—and it's the future of our workforce. How we strengthen the economy from the bottom up and the middle out.
Joe and this Administration are proud to work with all of you to create more avenues to reliable, affordable, high quality child care.
But there's only so much that we can do without Congress' support. That's why I'm so grateful to all of you for keeping this momentum going.
So many of you have found new, innovative ways to help families.
From historic investments to small steps that change families' lives, you're leading the way. And every win matters. Thank you for everything you've done to support kids, child care workers, and families.
Keep sharing your best ideas and working together. And know that you're not alone in this fight.
Joe and his administration are ready and proud to stand beside you.
Jill Biden, Remarks by the First Lady at White House States Convening on Child Care Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/363717