Shortage of childcare workers continues to cause long waitlists for after school programs

The YMCA of Greater San Antonio has over 270 children on waitlist for after school program

SAN ANTONIO – A shortage of childcare workers continue to be an issue nationwide, including in San Antonio. It’s led to a long wait list for after school programs and uncertainty for working parents.

At the YMCA of Greater San Antonio, they have close to 300 kids on the waitlist for their after school program and are looking for childcare workers to join their team.

“The YMCA of Greater San Antonio, serves over 60 elementary schools where we provide after school education, and we’re currently like 40 percent capacity because we have such a staffing shortage,” said Shannon Gowen, senior director of mission advancement and communications for the YMCA of Greater San Antonio.

The local Y has over 270 children on their after-school waitlist.

Like many businesses across the country, the YMCA of Greater San Antonio is having trouble hiring childcare workers.

“We had to unfortunately let go a lot of staff during COVID when we closed down a lot of our facilities. And then we’ve just had a really hard time being able to bring staff back since then,” Gowen said.

In order to bring the 270 kids back to the after school programs, the YMCA of Greater San Antonio needs 10 to 15 childcare workers.

“A lot of people are, you know, trying to choose, do I want to stay home versus work right now. Some of it due to medical conditions, you know, and COVID,” Gowen said.

Gowen said they have full-time and part-time positions available and offer other incentives.

“We have a $250 sign on bonus. You get a free Y membership for you and your family and if you are a childcare staff, you get free childcare,” Gowen said.

With the rise in COVID cases, Gowen has concerns.

“The last time we saw a rise in cases due to Delta, you know, we had a couple of people leave us,” Gowen said.

As families figure out what to do, Gowen said they hope to fill these positions soon.

“We’re trying to get those kids back into these programs because it’s essential for our working families as parents, you know, they depend on these after school programs for their jobs and livelihoods,” Gowen said.

About the Authors

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

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