Austin/ Food & Drinks
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Published on February 19, 2024
Austin's L'Oca d'Oro Cooks Up Child Care Solutions for Hospitality Workers with Offbeat SchedulesSource: L’Oca d’Oro Austin

In an industry where late nights and weekends are the norm, Austin's hospitality workers are struggling to find child care that fits their unorthodox schedules. Stepping up to the plate, L'Oca d'Oro, a popular local restaurant, is spearheading an initiative to create a pilot childcare program tailored for these workers, many of whom are parents in need of support.

Recent collaborations between L'Oca d'Oro and the United Way highlighted the gap in childcare services for parents with atypical work hours. A survey found that in Travis County alone, 32 percent of working parents operate outside the traditional 9 to 5, resulting in nearly 18,000 children with a dire need for after-hours care. Meanwhile, available slots at facilities willing to cater to these hours hover at a sparse 2,000, according to CultureMap Austin.

Addressing the issue as one of economic impact for the area, United Way for Greater Austin consultant Brooke Freeland stressed, "It's an economic development issue for Travis County, knowing full well that there's a major need here and parents are being forced or excluded from the workforce. Employees can't hire or retain employers because there's this lack of affordable child care," as per CultureMap Austin.

Adam Orman, the co-owner of L'Oca d'Oro, noted the importance of benefits like child care to sustain a viable workforce. "I think a lot of people traditionally think of it as a job that you did in college, and then you grew up and got a real job when you had a family because you needed child care," Orman stated in an interview with KVUE.

The endeavors of L'Oca d'Oro, in collaboration with the Texas Restaurant Association Greater Austin Chapter, include a broad survey capturing the precise needs of these workers—the type of care required, timing, affordability, and preferred locations. This survey, aimed at crafting practical solutions that align with workers' realities, is open to hospitality employees until the end of the month.