HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For more than 18 months, ABC13's Who's Hiring job fair has helped hundreds of people land work, but we've also assisted people with childcare scholarships.
The latest jobs report shows the unemployment gap between men and women has grown during the past year. Experts say one reason for that gap is childcare.
"It is always an issue for working parents, because with the lower-wage jobs, you have to do the math and make sure that it makes sense to you to take those jobs," explained Michelle Castrow, a spokesperson for Workforce Solutions.
A study from 2020 shows the average childcare cost was $700 a month.
To get help with child care expenses, you can usually find information every Thursday.
ABC13 partners with Workforce Solutions to host a virtual job fair. Since its launch, the program has helped more than 350 people find jobs. We've also helped with childcare. During the half-hour event, we profile programs and explain how you can get assistance.
"There is more money available now than I have seen in my 15 years of doing this work," Castrow said.
It's not with one program either. Workforce Solutions currently has three childcare scholarships to help parents during the pandemic.
The first program is their traditional childcare scholarship. This pays for a portion of childcare. You must work or go to school for 25 hours a week and meet income requirements, which for a family of four is about $4,400 a month.
There are a couple of new ones. The agency is offering a work search scholarship.
If you're unemployed and looking for a job, you could get childcare for 90 days.
Lastly, there's money to help an industry desperately looking for workers.
If you're in hospitality, which includes restaurants, bars, or hotels; work 25 hours a week; and meet income requirements, which for a family for four is about $5,300 a month, you could get childcare completely covered for a year.
It's a scholarship that could increase the number of children served by 50% in southeast Texas.
"We're hoping with the service industry recovery funds we will be able to help an additional 12,000 children," Castrow said.
If you want to learn more about the childcare scholarships, visit Workforce Solution's website. You can also call the ABC13 hotline starting Monday at 713-243-6663.
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ABC13 Who's Hiring job fair offers parents a way to get childcare covered for a year
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