Apr 11, 2024 - News

DIA explores creating on-site child care facility for its workers

A child in the foreground naps while inside a stroller, while a woman on a laptop in the background studies her screen. Besides them are luggage and another person sitting in the background.

Two-year-old Mile Feiger, of Seattle, naps at Denver International Airport on Nov. 26, 2019 in Denver. Photo: Joe Mahoney/Getty Images

Denver International Airport is exploring how it can provide on-site child care for its 40,000-plus employees.

Why it matters: Child care is costly, can be hard to find, and can hinder people's ability to accept new jobs or even promotions.

Driving the news: Denver airport CEO Phil Washington presented a plan on Wednesday to a city council committee for a feasibility study to create a child care facility at the world's fifth-busiest airport.

  • The plan calls for housing the facility inside the airport's Center of Equity and Excellence, a training center currently under construction set to be completed next year.

What they're saying: "We believe that providing stable child care really empowers individuals who face barriers to employment," Washington said Wednesday.

State of play: The airport is seeking $800,000 for a three-year contract with Denver-based Colorado Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC), a nonprofit focused on child care and education policies, to complete the study.

  • The idea isn't novel: A child care center opened at Denver-based Guild in 2021, while the nonprofit Mile High United Way is nearing completion of its own facility, according to the Denver Business Journal.

Between the lines: The contract's length will give the airport time to determine things like who can use the services — for example, whether it could be available to the general public — and how it will operate.

  • DIA deputy chief of staff Andrea Albo said EPIC will use data and community feedback to determine how it will work.

The big picture: Studies suggest providing such benefits to workers can be beneficial to companies offering it, though they are relatively rare.

Zoom in: Measuring the financial impact of the child care benefits divided by costs to provide them translates to high returns on investment for companies, per the study,

  • The findings were based on research on five companies, including one based in Colorado, Steamboat Ski Resort. The others included Etsy, Fast Retailing, Synchrony and UPS.
  • "These benefits pay for themselves," the authors wrote.

What's next: The proposal for DIA now moves to the full Denver City Council for final consideration.

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