Zach Felder, GB'20, connects hundreds of families with childcare during COVID-19

September 29, 2020
'It's allowed families to connect with fellow local families to explore possibilities,' Felder said.

As a working parent, Zach Felder, GB’20, quickly found himself in a situation most parents are familiar with during the pandemic: working from home full-time, without childcare.

“My wife and I started reaching out to friends the first week of June to cost-share the services of in-home support, as we both work remotely full-time,” Felder said. “After five weeks of searching, we became exasperated. It's difficult to even find the time to have conversations with other families to figure out if we're a good fit for a cooperative solution.”

So, he established a Facebook group called Parallel Cooperative, a matching system to help pair families with childcare providers.

“It's allowed families to connect with fellow local families to explore possibilities,” Felder said.

He credits his ability to navigate different family dynamics and create a data based matching system from scratch to his MBA courses.

“Process improvement and project management skills have been particularly helpful, as I've found myself working on an IT project,” Felder said. “Skills and strategies from Richard Coughlan's Negotiations class have been greatly useful in navigating strategic partnership. And data analytics skills from Ed Cook's class have been exceedingly beneficial in matching approaches.”

Since establishing the group this summer, he and his colleagues have helped 300 families find childcare.

“We've seen some amazingly creative solutions come out of necessity,” Felder said. “Some families are cooperating exclusively with each other to fill in the gaps for one another, where they don't need to hire outside help.” 

He and his team have seen the difficulties many families are facing in this time, including how the pandemic has overwhelmingly impacted lower income communities and how learning pod models capitalizing on the market need are driving inequities higher in these communities, he said.

“We've been developing strategies to improve access to learning pods for these communities along the way and hope through community partnerships and support we can serve the families that have been impacted the most during this pandemic,” Felder said. 

You can find out more about Parallel Cooperative here.