Watauga County Childcare Study Data Released

Posted By: David Jackson Chamber News,

The Watauga Economic Development Commission and the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce the results of a comprehensive study of the childcare landscape in Watauga County. 
The Watauga County Childcare Study includes a full 51-page report along with an executive summary. This information was presented to two groups of local childcare industry practitioners, business leaders, elected officials, and parents on April 9, 2024. 
In late 2023, the organizations partnered with Dancy Research to conduct the study. After surveying parents and local employers, conducting focus groups and one-on-one interviews, over 700 stakeholder engagements were analyzed over a three month time period.
"Childcare is an important economic development issue that touches the entire community. Our research and feedback from parents, businesses, and childcare professionals illustrate a compelling need for quality childcare in children under five years and school-age children," said Cyndi Dancy, Founder & Principal of Dancy Research. "The report provides data to assist leaders in rallying the community to consider solutions that will meet the childcare needs today and create a childcare ecosystem that produces a talent pipeline of people ready for the jobs of the future."
A public-private partnership funded the study, with participation from the Watauga County Board of Commissioners, Blue Ridge Energy, and Appalachian Commercial Real Estate.


What was the goal of this study?

To assess the existing childcare infrastructure and its impact on the people and businesses throughout Watauga County. 

The Dancy Research team used a collaborative and economic approach to gather pertinent information from statistical sources and stakeholders, identify gaps in service, and make recommendations of action steps to fill those gaps.

"This report underscores how valuable the early childhood and afterschool caregivers are in Watauga County. The role they play in raising our younger generation helps make it possible for parents to go to work and make our business community function,” said David Jackson, President/CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce.  “Many of these caregivers are parents themselves, and are working in a physically and emotionally-challenging environment for the love of the children they care for each day. This report helps bring fresh and real data to the childcare landscape that will help drive next steps from a real snapshot of the industry, and less on the anecdotal experiences that have been shared over the years. We are fortunate to have a strong group of community partners that are eager to continue working on the action steps outlined in this report.”

Mind Your Business Podcast: Interview with Cyndi Dancy about the results of the study

Dancy Research is a North Carolina-based economic development research firm, who recently conducted a similar study for the Wilkes County Economic Development Commission. Cyndi Dancy, Owner and Principal, teamed with Dr. Pamela Shue, an Associate Professor for in the Department of Family and Child Studies at Appalachian State University to conduct the research.