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Introducing PCNet: A Support Community for Parents and Caregivers Juggling Multiple “Jobs” at Once

Written by Parents & Caregivers Network (PCNet) on Apr 4, 2022

Related content: Diversity And Inclusion, Life at 2U

2U employees and the families - top row L-R: Brittany Bisceglia, Jordan Wiseman, PCNet Global Vice Chair for Caregivers Alissa Berdahl; middle row L-R: Jess Samuels, Natalie Garman, Emmanuelle Crane; bottom row L-R: PCNet Global Vice Chair for Parents Jalisa Greene, Amber Tetreau, PCNet Global Chair Audra Miller

In 2020, nearly 1 in 5 Americans were providing unpaid care to an adult. In 2021, parents made up 40% of the workforce. These statistics begin to tell a story of a trend that’s only been compounded by the impact of COVID: The population of working parents and caregivers (PCs) is expanding fast, and as they seek out ways to balance their now multiple jobs—while in many cases living and working at home—they are looking to their employers for support. As a result, many businesses are reevaluating leave policies and healthcare provisions, and they are working to educate themselves on how to help this growing population.

At 2U, we’ve felt the support firsthand. Through encouragement from the organization, we’ve created an employee Business Resource Network dedicated to providing a safe space for PCs of all kinds to find community. What started in early 2021 as a small but mighty group developed by individuals in 2U’s Student Engagement department has transformed into a global community providing a sense of belonging and understanding for PCs. We call it the Parents and Caregivers Network: PCNet.

PCNet’s mission is to support fellow caregivers as professionals by creating an inclusive environment; building opportunities for networking, advocacy, and support; and raising broader awareness about caregiver experiences. The community that PCNet is cultivating is not just for PCs to connect over their respective responsibilities—it’s for us to come together to take care of ourselves, too! Through professional development opportunities, education and allyship, authentic membership experiences, and community impact, we are building an environment inclusive of employees' needs to do both of their jobs—at home and at work—without worrying that one will take away from the other.

The constant circus act of juggling two jobs is the reality of a PC’s life. While highly coveted by employers for their multifaceted skills, adaptive nature, diligence, and dependability, they are often forced to choose between their responsibilities at home and at work—and unable to achieve the dream work-life balance harmony.

The tension that exists makes sense: Many employees in their thirties and forties, commonly referred to as the sandwich generation, care for their parents or older relatives and their own children at the same time. Pew Research Center estimates that 12% of parents make up this sandwich generation group in the modern workplace. According to a report by the American Staffing Association, which polled over 2,000 U.S. adults in June 2021, nearly two-thirds of parents with children said having to handle childcare and remote learning duties affected their ability to get ahead at work. These statistics showcase the urgent need for employers to reevaluate how they support employees with caregiving responsibilities or risk talent loss like what’s been exhibited through The Great Resignation.

In our inaugural year, PCNet aims to help release that tension. We will advocate for education on how to foster flexibility and limit rigidity within our work and home environments and ensure there is representation within 2U for all PCs. We plan to address the issues PCs are currently facing in our ever-changing world and spark conversations with upper leadership about the support, compassion, and understanding that is necessary for these valued employees to continue to flourish in their work and home lives. No matter how you identify—a full or part-time caregiver, a biological or adoptive parent, a soon-to-be parent or one who is struggling with infertility, a single parent or one from a blended household, or even an ally who is showing up to listen and learn—we hope to offer opportunities to learn and grow together, and provide the support we all need.

The workforce is changing fast. Now, more than ever before, businesses are being forced to evaluate their inclusivity and the resources they provide to support their employees. 2U has embraced the call for evolution and has recognized the immense value that the community of PCs brings to work each and every day. With the launch of its newest BRN, PCNet, 2U is inviting dialogue that challenges the status quo and evokes positive change to ensure the work environment is inclusive and supportive for all employees. We look forward to taking this opportunity to make everyone feel welcomed and seen at 2U.

Learn more about us.

At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help partners thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.