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The City's New Women and Families First Initiative

News Release

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced a new initiative to support women and families with children in San Francisco. The Women and Families First Initiative will provide targeted job training for 300 women in industries that are expected to grow during San Francisco’s economic recovery and will support approximately 800 children with childcare tuition credits. The Women and Families First Initiative is part of Mayor Breed’s efforts to promote an equitable economic recovery and advances the City’s long-term goals to ensure quality early childhood education is accessible for families of all income levels.

“Women, and particularly women with children, have experienced higher rates of unemployment throughout the course of the pandemic. Even before COVID-19, women were getting paid less than men doing similar work,” said Mayor Breed. “As we move forward on our recovery, we have an opportunity to make San Francisco a more equitable and supportive place for women and their children. With this initiative, we’re working to make sure that women have employment opportunities that can get them on the path to a fulfilling career, and that more families can access high-quality, affordable childcare so their kids are taken care of and parents can return to work.”

The Women and Families First Initiative, a partnership with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), the Human Rights Commission (HRC), the Department on the Status of Women (DOSW), and non-profit service providers, will offer training programs that lead to career opportunities for up to 300 women in the fields of healthcare, technology, construction, hospitality, and emerging industries. In addition, the Office of Early Care and Education will support women with children as they return to work by offering a local childcare tuition credit to moderate-income families who struggle to afford the cost of childcare.

To support the Women and Families First Initiative, Mayor Breed is proposing to allocate $6 million in her proposed budget for the next two years. The Mayor is proposing fund the Initiative in part with revenues from the June 2018 Proposition C, which provides funding to support early care and education investments. The Mayor’s budget will be introduced on June 1, 2021, and if approved in the budget process, the Women and Families First Initiative will launch in late summer.

Workforce Training

As part of the Women and Families First Initiative through $1 million in funding, the City will offer guaranteed workforce training for 300 women, with the goal of making sure women are able to participate in the City’s economic recovery and the expected growth of certain sectors, including healthcare, technology, construction, hospitality, and other emerging industries. Specifically, the Initiative will reserve training slots in the City’s existing workforce programs for women to enroll. These includes 100 slots in the HealthCare Academy, 75 slots in the TechSF program, 25 slots in the CityBuild Academy, and aims to support 100 women in the hard-hit hospitality industry with supportive services, retraining, and teaching additional workforce skills.

Targeted outreach for the Women and Families First Initiative to women impacted by the pandemic will be conducted by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development Sector Coordinators for CityBuild, TechSF, HealthCare Academy, and Hospitality programs.

Childcare Tuition

Ensuring early care and education options remain affordable, available, and accessible throughout San Francisco is essential for making sure all young people are ready for Kindergarten and success in school. The Women and Families First Initiative will provide approximately 800 children with childcare tuition credits. The credits will go to early care and education providers in the City’s network, which will provide more families the support they need to participate in San Francisco’s reopening and recovery.

Using $5 million in funding from Proposition C, Mayor Breed is proposing to provide a 20% tuition credit, averaging $6,000 per year, to support moderate-income families. In San Francisco, this is defined as families of four earning between $76,600 and $236,800 a year.

This childcare tuition program will be administered by the Office of Early Care and Education and complements the City’s existing programs to provide child care subsidies for low-income families. For more information about San Francisco’s existing early care and education subsidy program, go to https://sfoece.org/how-to-pay-for-ece/

City Support for Child Care Providers During COVID-19

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, San Francisco has supported early care and education providers with funding from the City’s Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund and with a new program to promote the economic recovery of child care providers. The City also continues to support the creation of new child care facilities throughout San Francisco with the Child Care Facilities Fund, which was created to retain and increase licensed child care facilities in high-needs neighborhoods.

In January 2021, Mayor Breed announced $25 million in financial assistance for San Francisco’s early care and education programs, which care for approximately 10,000 children across the city. The Early Education Economic Recovery Program was created with funding from revenue unlocked by Proposition F. All licensed child care or license-exempt co-operative early care programs providing services to children age birth to six in San Francisco are encouraged to apply on the San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education’s (OECE) website: sfoece.org/covid-19/early-education-recovery-program/.

In June 2020, Mayor Breed, along with then Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee and Supervisor Ahsha Safai, announced $1 million to support up to 150 family child care educators experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. These family child care educators are a vital resource for families, particularly in communities with a high need for early care and education but with limited child care resources.

“The only way our City will come back stronger from the disparate economic, social, and health impacts of the pandemic is to center women in our recovery efforts,” said Supervisor Myrna Melgar. “The status quo was not working and it is time to transform our industries by lifting up women and providing them the essential support they need to build their careers, strengthen their opportunities and provide affordable childcare so they are able to make choices and be assured their children are given the best opportunities for a strong head start in life. With this Initiative, we are getting closer to fulfilling the vision our voters and community members fought hard for: to bring high quality, robust early care and education to families across San Francisco.”

“San Francisco is unburdening the financial cost of childcare for moderate-income families with an early education safety net,” said Ingrid Mezquita, Director, Office of Early Care and Education. “Our investment in high-quality early education is economic security that helps more women become active in their own economic recovery.”

“Women are the backbone of our families, our community, and our economy. During the pandemic, they have been especially heroic, supporting their children in homeschooling while working both inside and outside the home as essential workers and first responders. Even as we reopen and recover, women as a whole who make up a significant portion of San Francisco’s laid off workforce are returning to work at a much slower rate,” said Kate Sofis, Director, Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “With the launch of our Women and Children First Initiative, San Francisco begins the important work to elevate and advance women and women of color and their families to the front of the line with job training and investments in childcare born out of our Economic Recovery Task Force Plan.”

“Over the past year, women were forced to choose between the traditional workforce and being the primary sources of care for children and elders at home,” said Sheryl Davis, Executive Director, San Francisco Human Rights Commission. “The pandemic quickly expanded gender disparities and rolled back decades of progress. This initiative will give an earned boost to families that need a little more support from our City to ensure that their families not only survive but also have a real chance to thrive.”

“By launching the Women and Families First Initiative, San Francisco is once again leading the pack by recognizing the critical importance women, especially working mothers, will play in rebuilding a vibrant and thriving economy. Certainly, affordable and reliable childcare will be a critical component of our economic recovery,” said Kimberly Ellis, Director of the Department on the Status of Women. “This initiative focuses on the good-paying jobs in new and emerging sectors like healthcare, technology and construction while balancing investments in the hospitality industry that has long employed women of color. This is exactly the type of strategic thinking needed to bolster our economic recovery by bringing a gender equity lens to this moment while creating replicable blueprints that others can follow. When we lift up women, we lift up all of society and lay the foundation for a better tomorrow.”

“It is clear that early care and education is important. Everyone deserves to have access to high-quality early education opportunities. Investing in our children’s future by providing middle-moderate income families, especially women, financial assistance for early care will lay a path for greater economic security,” said Tracy List, Executive Director, FranDelJa Enrichment Center. “We can begin to build an early education system that reaches all young children, regardless of their income or neighborhood. This will allow more children and their families to benefit from educational to economic success.

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