OregonSaves Welcomes Childcare Providers to State Retirement Program with $5 Million Boost from American Rescue Plan Funds

OregonSaves Welcomes Childcare Providers to State Retirement Program with $5 Million Boost from American Rescue Plan Funds
Financial benefit improves access to retirement savings for Oregon childcare workers

Salem, OR – The Oregon Retirement Savings Board and State Treasurer Tobias Read today announced that $5 million of dedicated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars are being disbursed by Oregon's Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) to fund the OregonSaves retirement accounts of more than 900 Oregon childcare service providers.

Funding was secured via negotiations by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union and their Child Care Providers Together (CCPT) group and was championed by former Oregon Governor Kate Brown.

OregonSaves was chosen as the preferred program provider for this initiative by a joint labor-management committee, tasked with choosing the most qualified retirement plan in an open market. OregonSaves' demonstrated commitment to the financial security of workers across the state, made it the ideal choice for directing the ARPA funds on behalf of this essential group.

“We are proud to have played a key role in bringing this retirement benefit to Oregon’s critical childcare service providers, ensuring a strong start on their path to retirement security,” said Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read. "This strategic investment in the financial future of childcare workers reflects Oregon's commitment to fostering economic security for all of its residents, a commitment shared by Oregon State Treasury and OregonSaves.”

An invitation to participate in OregonSaves was extended to childcare workers in the fall of 2023, providing an opportunity to set up an account and receive an equal share of the $5 million of ARPA funds split between eligible certified family childcare providers. For those who enrolled by the December deadline, an initial $4 million has been released to fund their OregonSaves accounts, providing approximately $4,400 each to support the financial well-being of these dedicated workers. The final distribution of funds is anticipated to reach the remaining OregonSaves accounts in March, ensuring that those still navigating the process will receive their well-deserved benefits.

The active involvement of DELC, which licenses childcare providers, added a crucial layer of support to this initiative. The collaborative partnership with AFSCME played a pivotal role, with AFSCME taking the lead in outreach and communication, ensuring their union members were well-informed about their retirement benefit.

"Before our union negotiated a retirement benefit with the state, I didn't have any savings or ability to plan for retirement" said Gracia Ramirez, a Certified Family Child Care provider and member of AFSCME Child Care Providers Together. "This is an important benefit for childcare providers like myself who work long hours and devote our lives to young children and families in our community. To have an initial investment to begin saving for our retirement is something I can honestly say I didn't think was a possibility" continued Ramirez.

"Providing retirement security is a crucial step toward making this a more sustainable career option for Oregon's dedicated childcare providers," said Joe Baessler, Executive Director, Oregon AFSCME. "We will continue to work together with the State and Legislature to ensure providers across the state have the resources and support necessary to not only provide top notch care but to support their own families," continued Baessler.

This initiative builds upon a successful partnership with Oregon Personal Support Workers, who were welcomed into OregonSaves in late 2020, further solidifying OregonSaves' commitment to retirement savings accessibility for diverse worker groups. In support, a new study from Kean University and the University of Wisconsin - Madison - Center for Financial Security, highlights the substantial impact of OregonSaves on retirement savings among previously uncovered private workers, low-income and underserved communities.

OregonSaves was the first program of its kind in the U.S. and six years on continues to lead a national movement. Now 18 states have followed Oregon with similar programs, and during the 2023 state legislative sessions alone, at least 25 states proposed legislation related to state retirement programs.

This new influx of childcare providers will now join the ranks of more than 124,000 workers that have set aside $251 million toward retirement. As thousands of Oregonians continue contributing to OregonSaves, long-term positive benefits will continue to emerge for participating workers and the state itself.