Don’t you love the summer energy in North Idaho? If you have visitors, check out www.visitpostfalls.org or stop by our Visitors Center for maps, brochures and more. We love to share about our community.
Please welcome our newest members: Washington Trust Liberty Lake Mortgage Division, Pappy Boyington Det. 966 Marine Corps League, Shepherd Financial Group, Quality Stoves and Spas, TOCNW “Need a Little Christmas,” ACE Solutions, Post Falls Community Volunteers, BBSI, Restoration 1 and Knottical Marine.
We celebrated with ribbon cuttings for North Idaho Deck and Interiors, Coeur Climbing Co, Prairie Falls Golf Club, Blue Compass RV and the Mullan Avenue Walmart expansion. Members rode in a race car at Findlay Stadium at Stateline Speedway Business After Hours. We joined the 100-year anniversary of the Chapin Building and honored our Recognition Gala winners in the Post Falls Festival Parade.
The River City Market and Music brought to you by Jordan Sales and Service kicked off July 12. People love the local vendors and danced the night away thanks to the Orgill Summer Concert Series. The market runs every Wednesday until Aug. 16 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
With all of that going on we still had time for committee meetings. The Business and Education Committee toured the University of Idaho Extension office. We talked with the American Wagyu Association, Eat Smart Idaho, Forestry and Natural Resources, Master Gardening, 4-H and Idaho Stars; which set the stage for a healthy post tour discussion.
It is no secret that we have a shortage of available child care options. Child care workers are some of the lowest paid in the state, in Region 1 the average is $13.22 an hour. Families are seeking pre-school education as part of care options and those providers have to have a lot more education, yet they are still paid lower wages. Idaho Stars works to provide training, help with quality grants and coaching, but it isn’t enough to solve the problem. There is a delicate balance to keep tuition affordable while paying people decent wages. The rising cost of housing isn’t helping families either.
What can you do to help? It’s not a simple answer. We have to be creative and committed to solutions. Some things you could do: speak at City Council meetings in support of affordable housing projects, follow and support the work of Connect Kootenai and what they do for affordable housing, consider creative solutions within your business such as flexible work hours/days or add a child care stipend to your benefits package, and utilize resources from 4-H, Boys and Girls Club, Gizmo, the Salvation Army Kroc Center and more to create a toolkit for your staff. Sometimes, it is just a lack of knowing what options there are, especially for newer residents.
Join committees with your Chamber and be a part of the conversation. Help create solutions. This community rallies together like no other that I have seen, and I believe we will work together to keep this an amazing place to live, work and play.
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Christina Petit is the president/CEO for the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce.