Phoenix Explores On-Site Child Care For Sky Harbor Airport Employees

By Christina Estes
Published: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 12:30pm
Updated: Thursday, September 23, 2021 - 7:45am

passenger walk by closed store
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Passengers walk by closed stores in Terminal 4 on Sept. 4, 2020.

Some workers at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport could soon get help covering child care costs. The city will offer vouchers and consider opening a child care center on airport property.

The Aviation Department surveyed companies at the airport and found more than 600 of their employees are interested in child care options at or near Sky Harbor. 

On Tuesday, the City Council approved using $4 million in federal funds for child care vouchers to be distributed.

“Unfortunately we have seen this to be one of the biggest hurdles to bringing back our workforce across all sectors and industries,” said Councilwoman Betty Guardado. “Don’t get me wrong, wages are also an issue, but I am very excited to see us leading the path here.”

City employees will identify a nonprofit or governmental partner to administer the voucher program and conduct necessary income verification and coordination.

City-owned space at Terminal 3 is being evaluated to determine whether modifications could be made to provide on-site child care. If feasible, the city will spend up to $1 million on facility improvements and issue a procurement for child care services to be provided by a third-party contractor.

For more than 20 years, Los Angeles International Airport has used contractors to provide child care at the airport. According to a city report, other peer airports operated child care services for employees in the past but the service was discontinued due to the pandemic and related challenges.