Impacts on Child Care, Education & Workforce Development

Impacts on Child Care, Education & Workforce Development

Access to Child Care  Child Care Facility Shortage  Impacts on Education and Workforce Development ♦ Preschool and The Big Lift  ♦ Innovations in Public School Funding ♦ Challenges and Opportunities for San Mateo County Community College Students  Workforce Development and Job Training for Technology Jobs

Access to Child Care

Cost of Child Care
  • 90% of brain development takes place in the first five years of a child’s life.
  • 8,659 children receive subsidized child care (847 infant/toddlers, 3,433 preschool, 4,739 school aged).
  • The income limits for subsidies were significantly increased in 2017 to address the local cost of living.
  • Costs are similar to San Francisco and slightly higher than Alameda and Santa Clara Counties. The only county in the Bay Area with higher costs is Marin.
  • 98% of child care requests are for full-time care in San Mateo County, higher than neighboring counties.
  • Between 2010 and 2012 most counties in the Bay Area showed an increase in the requests for evening/weekend/overnight child care, except SMC, Contra Costa, and Napa.
  • As shown above, the need for child care is not being met in San Mateo County.
  • San Mateo County and Marin have the smallest percent of single mothers in the workforce, 17% and 16% respectively, compared with 26% for the state.
  • For more details on changes in poverty rates, see the Prosperity and Poverty

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Child Care Facility Shortage

Child Care and Families


  • Increase in-home child care and employer supported child care.
  • Elevate the status of the child care field by increasing wages for child care providers.
  • Utilize spaces that are vacant for a portion of the week or the day for child care programs, such as churches, colleges, and community centers.
    • Sequoia Union High School District plans to establish a licensed child care center at Carlmont High School as a benefit to staff. This project will offset the high cost of living for teachers and bolster employee retention.
  • Cities may establish developer impact fees or require that developers provide child care space. The average cost of construction for child care is $40K+ per space (San Mateo County Child Care and Preschool Facilities Task Force). The cities of San Mateo and South San Francisco have child care impact fees.
  • Cities can make child care a priority by including it in the general plan, reduce or eliminate fees for child care facilities, and streamline the permitting process to reduce expense and delays.
    • In 2017, the San Carlos and San Mateo City Councils confirmed their commitment to prioritize child care.
    • Redwood City has eliminated fees for child care in homes.
    • In 2017, the South San Francisco City Council cleared the waiting list for child care by funding a new program in partnership with the city library and Parks and Recreation Department.

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Impacts on Education and Workforce Development

Education outcomes are affected by family income in several ways. The cost of preschool, private school, and higher education are prohibitive for many students. School bus services in the county are limited and a lack of family transportation may lead to decreased attendance. Neighborhoods are economically segregated and school funding is determined by property taxes, which leads to less funding for schools serving low-income students. These districts are at risk of further loss of funding when families are displaced because of the high cost of living. See data on funding per student for each district in the county and standardized test performance by economic status in the Indicators Report.

  • Eight of the twenty-three school districts in San Mateo County receive less funding per student than the state average of $10,183, while 2 school districts receive over twice the state average.
  • There were 2,394 homeless students in San Mateo County in 2014, 67% were in preschool to fifth grade (Kids Data). Though record keeping has improved over the years, homeless students may be counted several times if they switch school districts.
  • In the 2014-2015 academic year 19,892 students in San Mateo County benefited from the National School Lunch Program.
  • 16,978 students attend one of 101 private schools in San Mateo County. Average tuition is $15,142 for elementary school and $29,282 for high schools (Private School Review).
  • California colleges and universities show a low rate of student debt compared to other states. However, student loan debt has a serious impact on personal finances. Nationwide, the average loan debt for the class of 2016 college graduates is $37,000. Up to 35% of the recent decline in homeownership may be attributed to recent graduates unable to save for a down payment or make monthly mortgage payments.

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Preschool and The Big Lift

Third grade reading proficiency is an indicator of future scholastic success (Annie E. Casey Foundation). Recent tests found that only 27% of San Mateo County’s Latino, African-American, and Pacific Islander students read proficiently by the third grade. Studies show that access to high quality preschool, family engagement, consistent school attendance, and summer learning affect children’s reading skills. All of these factors are impacted by the cost of living.

  • Stresses on household budgets reduce funds for preschool and summer learning.
  • High real estate costs and low wages for preschool teachers reduced the availability of childcare space.
  • Parents who work several jobs may not have time to read to their children and may have to choose between transportation to work and transportation to school.

San Mateo County’s The Big Lift program seeks to improve third grade reading skills by increasing access to high-quality preschool and summer enrichment programs, and encouraging school attendance and family engagement in reading. Supervisor Carole Groom, the San Mateo County Office of Education, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation lead implementation of the program. The program has fully funded 200 childcare spots and the income limit for a family of four to be eligible is $105,350 (or 80% of the area median income based on HUD calculations).

The Big Lift

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Innovations in Public School Funding

Public school funding in California is determined by local property taxes, leading to wide disparities in funding and quality based on property values. The new local control funding formula is an effort to fill the funding gap for schools that serve low-income and English learning populations.

  • For the past three academic years the San Mateo-Foster City School district has utilized local control funding to deliver a summer kindergarten preparedness program to children who did not attend preschoo

Some local school districts are struggling to accommodate an influx of students as the general population increases. Public school enrollment increased from 88,273 in 2004 to 95,620 in 2016. Overall, California’s schools receive less funding per student than the national average ( The current level of funding is insufficient to build new facilities and pay teachers’ wages congruent with the cost of living. Several municipalities have introduced fees and taxes to fund public schools.

  • Residents of Menlo Park passed a $360 parcel tax to fund schools and address overcrowding issues, which will generate roughly $2.8M a year for schools through 2023/2024.
  • The City of Millbrae instituted development fees for all building permits for new construction or additions over 500 sq. ft., to provide additional funding to the Elementary and High School Districts.
  • San Mateo Union High School District collects a developer fee for construction in the City of San Mateo, Foster City, Hillsborough, Millbrae, San Bruno, and unincorporated Burlingame.
  • Half Moon Bay’s Cabrillo Unified School District enacted an Impact-Developer Fee for residential and commercial development.
  • Sequoia Union School District collects a School Impact Fee for projects adding more than 500 square feet of living space; portions of funds are distributed to the Redwood City School District.

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Challenges and Opportunities for San Mateo County Community College Students

The county’s three community colleges offer innovative programs to local students at low cost. Data from the San Mateo County Community College District Foundation indicates the vital role that these schools play in the community.

Community Colleges San Mateo County

The district has several programs that mitigate expense for students who must pay for housing, transportation, books, and meals.

  • Each campus hosts a food bank and the district is considering a textbook rental program.
  • In response to tuition increases, the district doubled the amount of scholarships.
  • They recently established a scholarship program that assists up to 60 full-time students with financial need who qualify for federal aid or are considered a “California Dreamer”.

As the sole provider of public higher education in the county, the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) is tasked to create opportunities for local students that are entering an increasingly competitive job market that requires specialized skills. Forty-eight percent of students who earn a bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at a UC, began their studies at a community college (California Community Colleges Chancellors Office).

  • The district provides one of the fifteen baccalaureate programs in the state community college system designed to fill gaps in education in specialized fields that are not served by state colleges or universities. Students in SMCCCD’s Respiratory Care Program complete a four-year degree, resulting in an average annual starting salary of $80,000.
  • In partnership with Base 11, Skyline College hosts an Innovation Center with a fabrication lab primed to galvanize a new generation of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) entrepreneurs through practical applications and internships.
  • The Climate Corps Fellowship is a certificate program that secures 10-month paid placement in sustainability roles. The Energize Colleges program is funded by a grant from PG&E and designed for students interested in energy, water, pollution, etc. Eighty-five percent of participants are in full-time jobs or full-time grad programs within a year of completion.
  • In collaboration with NOVA’s Slingshot Initiative, SMCCCD developed the Digital Advertising Certificate Program. The program aims to create opportunities for students from underserved communities that are underrepresented in the digital marketing field, whose cultural perspective and communication skills are needed by the industry. After students complete the program, they receive job placement assistance.

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Workforce Development and Job Training for Technology Jobs

The high concentration of technology jobs in the region has drawn workers from all over the world. In 2016, 12.16% of the jobs in San Mateo County were classified as STEM jobs (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) compared with 6.37% in California and 5.25% in the nation. Local job training centers have developed programs to prepare current residents for tech industry jobs.

  • JobTrain’s mission is to deliver job training to economically disadvantaged, unemployed, or underemployed adults and youth in San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Alameda Counties. The Web Technology/Salesforce Administrator Certification Skills program is a 15-week course in computer programing, database administration, and web communications.
  • NOVA serves dislocated workers and provides job training and workforce development services for San Mateo County. Through a partnership with the California Employment Development Department, NOVA developed a program to connect those on the autism spectrum with jobs in data science and analytics.
  • NOVA’s SlingShot initiative has collaborated with business, nonprofit, education and government partners to enhance diversity in the fields of digital advertising and “DevOps”, a combination of software development, quality assurance, and IT operations.

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Carina Anttila-Suarez, Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Skyline College

David Fleishman, Executive Director, Child Care Coordinating Council of San Mateo County

Luther Jackson, Workforce Development Manager, NOVA

Andrea Jones, Initiative Officer, The Big Lift, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Nancy Magee, Associate Superintendent, Student Services Division, San Mateo County Office of Education

Tykia Warden, Acting Executive Director, San Mateo County Community College District Foundation


Annual Cost of Child Care. Kids Data. 2014. Retrieved from:

Base 11 Launches Innovation Center and New Course at Skyline College to Support the Next Generation of STEM Entrepreneurs. April 2016. Retrieved from:

California Community Colleges: Key Facts. 2017 Retrieved from:

Child Care Portfolio, San Mateo County. 2015. California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, 2015 Retrieved from:

Child Care Supply and Demand Summary 2015-2025. 2016. San Mateo County Office of Education. Retrieved from:

Development Fees. City of Redwood City. 2017. Retrieved from:

Early Education and Support Division. California Department of Education. 2017 Retrieved from:

Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters. Ann E. Casey Foundation. 2017 Retrieved from:

Economic Modeling. 2017. Retrieved from:

How does California rank in per-pupil spending? It all depends. Edsource. 2015. Retrieved from:

Income Limits. Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 2017. Retrieved from:

Menlo Park: Parcel tax to support schools headed for passage. March 7, 2017. The Mercury News. Retrieved from:

Private School Review: San Mateo County. 2017. Retrieved from:

Request for Statement of Qualification and Proposals for Infant-toddler Childcare Services at Carlmont High School. Sequoia Union High School District. 2017. Retrieved from:

San Mateo County Child Care and Preschool Facilities Task Force. 2016. Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Retrieved from:

School Impact (Developer) Fees. San Mateo Union High School District. 2017. Retrieved from:

South City helps out with child care crunch. The Daily Journal. July 20, 2017. Retrieved from:

Student Debt Prevents Home Ownership. Reuters. July 13, 2017. Retrieved from:

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From the 2017 Indicators Report

In 2015 in San Mateo County, 68% of commuters drove alone to work, 11% used public transit, 10% carpooled and 3% walked. 5% of residents now work from home.

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