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Deputy Secretary Don Graves Joins Oregon Senator Ron Wyden in Addressing Need to Invest in Care Workers and Care Economy


Earlier this month, Deputy Secretary Don Graves hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on the economic impact and need to have accessible and affordable childcare in the workplace with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Deputy Secretary Graves was joined by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and AFSCME President Lee Saunders in emphasizing the importance of family medical leave and the need to invest in our nation’s care workers and a care economy. The event comes as Secretary Raimondo and the Biden Administration continue to champion the need for historic investments in America’s care infrastructure.

“It is simple – in order for you to be able to go to work, you need to know that your loved one is being taken care of,” said Deputy Secretary Graves. “We know that building a strong care infrastructure is not just a moral imperative – it’s a business imperative.”

The roundtable also highlighted the importance of investing in children and families. Participants in the roundtable included Lee Saunders, President of AFSCME; Senator Ron Wyden; Marisa Wilson, an impacted worker; Miren Algorri, a family care provider; and moderator Julie Kashen, the Director of Women’s Economic Justice and a Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation. The participants shared their thoughts on the need for a care economy and how workers, families, and the U.S. economy could benefit from investments in our care infrastructure.

“For too long, caregivers — who are disproportionately women, and women of color, and immigrants — have been unseen, underpaid, and undervalued,” Deputy Secretary Graves told participants. “To build a strong economy, we need a strong care economy. We need to bring dignity back to these important jobs by providing better wages, benefits, opportunities, and support.”

The Commerce Department and the Biden Administration also view investments in the care economy as essential to U.S. competitiveness and supporting the development of our generation of talent. 

President Biden has made the care economy a priority, and Secretary Raimondo and Deputy Secretary Graves are committed to advocating for ways to pass funding and make substantial investments in the infrastructure of our care economy including creating new and better jobs for caregiving workers.

Leadership