MARQUETTE – The Marquette County Childcare Coalition announced a new Childcare Business Lab pilot program to meet regional needs.
Since the beginning of the year, the coalition, convened by the Community Foundation of Marquette County, has engaged in discussions to address the significant need for child care services, the foundation said in a press release. The coalition includes representatives from the community, local government, and non-profit and economic development organizations.
The coalition’s work revealed:
≤ Lack of child care spaces prevents many parents from returning to work, leading to turnover and difficulty retaining employees.
≤ Many child care workers — especially entry-level workers — do not earn enough to support their families and cannot afford to stay in the profession.
≤ Education providers are experimenting with rapid certifications and skills development, but for child care providers looking to build their skills, certification fees for advancement can be a significant barrier.
The Childcare Coalition has proposed linking existing resources from the Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Services Agency and Great Start to Quality to the Lake Superior Community Partnership to launch an initiative that engages potential child care providers to home to participate in a business start-up and growth acceleration program. .
The cohort-based model has been tested in other regions and serves as a prototype for providing both business training and specialized child care to ensure Marquette County is able to meet the current and future demand for affordable, quality child care.
The program would be supported by a cost-sharing model with employers. LSCP CEO Christopher Germain said in a press release that there were three key factors in considering licensed home child care providers as one of the feasible solutions to meet local demand for child care. services.
“Focusing on in-home (providers) allows us to distribute slots across the county, bringing them closer to where people live,” said German. “Home has a lower start-up cost, and home-based businesses offer families the opportunity to generate additional income using an existing asset: their home.”
At the Marquette County Board of Commissioners meeting on October 4, the board approved the recommendation to provide $100,000 in US Bailout Act funding to support the Commercial Custody Lab Pilot Project. children of Marquette County. Support for the program will leverage funds from a variety of sources, including government, business and private philanthropy.
The Community Foundation has also established a new fund to address child care needs in Marquette County.
“The Marquette County Child Care Coalition has made great strides in understanding community child care needs and creating a pilot project that can have an immediate impact and then serve as a model for continuing to bring about change in the region”, Marquette-Alger RESA Director of Early Childhood Education Lyndsay Carey said in a press release. “Having all the different stakeholders around the table brought many perspectives, brought depth to the conversation, and intentionality to the work. The new pilot project will expand the great work that is currently being done in the community and provide additional support.
The Community Foundation launched the Marquette County Child Care Endowment Fund to provide long-term support for quality child care programs in the county.
“The Community Foundation is taking a proactive step to create a sustainable program of support for these initiatives through this new endowment fund. Home child care providers, child care centres, early childhood education and workforce development are intertwined and form our child care infrastructure,” said the foundation’s CEO, Zosia Eppensteiner, in a press release. “This fund will allow us to make meaningful investments in charitable programs that help our community meet their child care needs.
To learn more about the fund, contact the Community Foundation at 906-226-7666 or email@example.com.