HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Care convened Wednesday morning in Hartford for the first time.

The panel was created following an executive order from Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) in March to find new ways of improving childcare in the state.

Commissioner Beth Bye of the Office of Early Childhood is the panel’s chairperson.

“Gov. Lamont is big on innovation in Connecticut,” Bye said. “What are some ways we can innovate here? To make childcare more accessible for Connecticut families and support the childcare providers who are among the lowest-paid professionals in the state.”

The panel comprises child care providers, educational organizations, and the business community. To determine the exact needs of Connecticut families, the group will also hold 10 public forums.

Lamont said improving child care will also improve the state’s economy, as the current lack of affordable options prevents some parents from working.

“I have 95,000 jobs unfilled here in the state of Connecticut,” the governor said. “I can get more of those moms and dads able to get back in the workforce if they knew their kid was being safely taken care of. It expands the economy, gives more people opportunity.”

Lamont is proposing incentives to get employers involved. Employers that build new child care centers would get a 25% credit for those costs.

Connecticut Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Care intends to provide a final report to the Lamont administration in December.