The Partner Up! program was implemented by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) under Project Growth in 2022. The initial launch invested $21 million to award across 200 businesses in Wisconsin, allowing those businesses to access quality, regulated child cares as a benefit for their employees. Partner Up! is administered by Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) in alignment with the state’s Birth to Five Strategic Plan.
Based on a survey of nearly 1,000 employers across every Wisconsin county and a range of industries, 73% of respondents agreed that providing employees with resources to support their child care needs should be considered as a strategy for addressing labor shortages. The extensive barriers to providing child care as a benefit were heavily cited, although providing government incentives increased respondents likelihood that their company could launch or expand child care offerings to their staffs.