Research in Action Labs allow us to work hand-in-hand with local communities on pressing economic issues. Using a four-part approach, labs explore sustainable solutions that promote economic equity.

This lab began with a key question: How might we ensure equitable access to quality early care and education for families seeking employment and in the labor force in Delaware?

Read below to learn how we moved through this four-part approach with our partners in Delaware.


What We Did: The Philadelphia Fed, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, Rodel, and Delaware’s Office of Early Learning had conversations to understand the long-standing challenges within the early care and education sector. The partners began to explore a central question: How can we ensure access to affordable, quality child care and early education for Delaware families who are in the workforce or seeking employment?

The partners from the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, Rodel, and Delaware's Office of Early Learning:

  • created a cross-sector coalition to address child care and education.
  • defined a common mission and vision.
  • shared with the business community the economic importance of early care and education through presentations done at the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors and the Wilmington Rotary Club.

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What You Can Do:

  • Engage chambers of commerce and other business leaders to understand employers’ views and concerns around child care.
  • Speak with organizations working to address early child care in your state to better understand the landscape and current gaps. 
  • Include early care providers and professionals in conversations to ensure the inclusion of perspectives from these critical stakeholders. 


What We Did: To help define the problem, the Philadelphia Fed, in partnership with PolicyMap, released an interactive mapping tool. The tool shows where Delaware's licensed child care providers and facilities are located and highlights the mismatch between supply and demand in early care and education. The partners hosted a series of listening sessions with Delaware businesses to assess how the business community views the early care and education sector and its importance to Delaware’s workforce, employers, and regional economy. 

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What You Can Do:

  • Map child care availability in your state, disaggregating data by race and income to understand how child care access varies among different segments of the population.
  • Host listening sessions with businesses to understand how child care disparities are impacting their workforce and talent pipelines. 
  • Engage intermediaries such as chambers of commerce to share the research and define the problem in an economic context.


What We Did: The partners used findings from the listening sessions with Delaware businesses to develop a resource guide. This guide details the mismatch in supply and demand in early care and education in the state and provides information on ways that business and other stakeholders can support a more sustainable sector that meets the needs of working families and employers and strengthens the regional economy.

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  • Released a resource guide that details findings and examines ways to increase access to early care and education for working families.
  • Philadelphia Fed President Patrick T. Harker discussed the publication in an interview on WDEL following the release.

What You Can Do:

  • Share back insights with the community to raise awareness of where and how partners are innovating around child care needs and share solutions.
  • Bring working families, child care professionals and providers, and businesses together to identify opportunities for innovation.

Delegate & Deliver

What We Did: Using the resource guide, the group began facilitating conversations with Delaware stakeholders to help bring in new partners into ongoing efforts and to discuss potential pilots for addressing early care and education needs.

The partners presented findings from the guide at several events, including a Delaware State Chamber of Commerce webinar, and to the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Council and Delaware’s Help Me Grow team. The partners also shared information from the lab at the Delaware Legislative Kids Caucus with state Senator Kyle Evans Gay and state Representative Debra Heffernan.

Learn More:

What You Can Do:

  • Share findings and opportunities with other collective tables, such as chambers of commerce or other business coalitions to bring new supporters to the early care and education ecosystem.
  • Engage local and state government to understand and explore opportunities to improve child care access at the system level. Build a diverse coalition of change-makers from varied sectors to identify opportunities to pilot solutions.