Employer-Based Child Care

The Need 

Families in Colorado face a number of challenges accessing child care, including affordability, long wait lists, limited locations near work or home or no local licensed child care options. These issues may worsen with increased demand for care with the implementation of Universal Preschool and as families return to work. 

The Strategy 

This activity focuses on incentivizing employers to build child care on or near site and consists of two aspects. 

The first is providing grants for eligible entities to construct, remodel, renovate or retrofit a child care center on or near the employer’s site. These grants are intended to support workforce participation and provide safe, stable, quality and accessible care for employed parents and families. 

Second, CDEC partnered with Executives Partnering to Invest In Children (EPIC) on the Employer-Based Child Care Design Lab (Design Lab), a unique opportunity for employers to gain the knowledge necessary to plan an on-site or near-site child care facility. The Design Lab offers direct support and community partnerships for employers to develop a competitive grant application for up to $800,000 in state funding for their projects. 

Key Outcomes and Learnings 


Employer-Based Child Care Grant 

Design Lab 


  • Permitting processes and weather delayed many of the construction projects, and executing contracts took up to 11 months. It is critical that future grant rounds have multiple years to spend funding.Technical assistance has been critical to support grant awardees in finalizing their contract documents. 
  • Extra time needs to be built into the procurement process, as the state process is new to many grantees and each contract is unique.

green gear labeled access and quality


Amount: $21,800,000 


  • State General Fund
  • State and Local Federal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) 


  • The first two cohorts ($8.8 million) expired on June 30, 2023. 
  • An additional $10 million must be obligated by September 30, 2024. Funds expire on December 31, 2026. 
  • $3 million in State General Funds was allocated for spending by June 30, 2024.

Next Steps

Employer-Based Child Care Grant: The next solicitation is expected to be posted in May 2024. 

Employer-Based Child Care Design Lab: EPIC is hosting Design Lab 3.0 from February through May of 2024.


Evidence Brief

"Emerging and Expanding Grants and Employer-Based Child Care" 

Schultz Patel Evaluation 

(September 2023)



colorado map showing counties with at least one provider approved to receive grants
This map shows counties who had at least one provider be approved to receive Employer Based Child Care Grant funding. This map is updated on a quarterly basis and reflects data as of the date of generation. Data is subject to change.