The New Semiconductors Challenge: Finding Childcare Workers

March 2, 2023 by Lightcast Press Office

Header image reading "Lightcast press release"

CHIPS Plan Requires Childcare, But Can the Semiconductor Industry Find the Workers?

(Boston, MA) - Semiconductor companies seeking CHIPS funds will be required to offer employees affordable, quality childcare, but the number of childcare workers is still 5.5% below pre-pandemic levels. This increases the talent challenge to rebuilding the semiconductor industry, which already needs another 230,000 skilled workers.

The CHIPS Act appropriates $53.4 billion in federal subsidies to expand U.S. semiconductor manufacturing. On Tuesday, the Department of Commerce announced that semiconductor manufacturers competing for subsidies of at least $150 million, must submit a plan for providing childcare for their workers. 

Lightcast research has already found doubling U.S. semiconductor manufacturing would require 236,000 additional skilled workers, ranging from electrical engineers to administrative staff. 

“The goal is to ensure that a lack of childcare isn’t keeping people out of semiconductor jobs, but to do that we also need to find more childcare workers,” said Lightcast Senior Economist Elizabeth Crofoot

What’s going to bring the workers back? Company benefits such as childcare, flexible hours, and remote work create opportunities for workers to take part in the workforce. Lightcast research found that less than 1% of job postings offered childcare or childcare subsidies as a benefit. Providing childcare for employees may alleviate some of the challenges keeping caregivers out of the workforce. This could be the key to bringing new talent into the workforce. 

Key Points:

  • Childcare and Education workers are in short supply. 

The number of childcare workers in childcare centers is still 5.5% below pre-pandemic levels, falling from over 1 million workers in 2019. That means more than 55,000 childcare workers who were in the industry before the pandemic have possibly found opportunities in other industries. 

“Understaffed daycare centers continue to hold back parents from entering the workforce. Employers that offer workers childcare allowances, on-site daycare, or negotiate with local centers to reserve coveted spots will aid in the recovery of parent's--and especially women's--workforce participation,” said Lightcast Senior Economist Elizabeth Crofoot.

  • Without childcare workers, manufacturers could have a much harder time finding enough industry workers to meet their needs.

In Lightcast’s report Demographic Drought, economists suggest that providing childcare can help employers combat the two biggest deterrents for parents looking to join the workforce: availability and costs associated with daycare. Addressing childcare challenges will be imperative for manufacturers ready to compete for workers in this tight labor market.

“Finding childcare workers isn’t a challenge these companies can afford to take lightly. Manufacturers in particular, may find themselves in over their head facing the additional difficulties of finding childcare workers as they are much different than the laborers and assemblers they normally hire,” said Lightcast Senior Economist Ron Hetrick.

  • The semiconductor industry will have competition for childcare workers. The number of companies that explicitly include childcare benefits in their jobs postings is very low at less than half a percent.  

“Companies in the semiconductor industry would be able to substantially differentiate themselves from other industries if they offered childcare benefits, helping them attract additional talent,” said Lightcast Senior Economist Layla O’Kane.


Employees in Child Care Services graph


Lightcast provides trusted global labor market data, analytics, and expert guidance that empowers communities, corporations, and learning providers to make informed decisions and navigate the increasingly complex world of work. With a database of more than one billion job postings and career profiles, our team provides best-in-class customer service with robust data, clear analysis, and expert guidance on skills, jobs, and opportunities. 

Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and Moscow, Idaho, Lightcast is active in more than 30 countries and has offices in the United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, and India. The company is backed by global private equity leader KKR. For more, visit

Press contact: Rachael Wilson
Phone: (541) 227-9437