NMU Early Childhood Education Task Force holds rally

Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 4:41 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Members of the NMU Early Childhood Education Task Force held signs, shouted, and marched from Jamrich Hall to the Northern Center.

Friday’s demonstration was held to raise awareness of the child care shortage in the region and promote an early childhood education center on campus.

“Here in Marquette and throughout the U.P. there is a huge childcare crisis. Infant childcare is practically nonexistent and toddler and pre-school childcare can have 1-2 year waitlists,” said Early Childhood Education Task Force co-chair Shilpa Jhobalia.

Jhobalia says a daycare and preschool for children of NMU community members could benefit the school in two different ways. First, it could work as a learning lab for students at NMU. And second, it would recruit more students so parents could come back to school.

“It would be a real win-win situation if we could have this center here on campus as well it would open up a lot of spaces for community members that currently faculty and staff are utilizing the child-care spaces in the community.”

According to NMU spokesperson Derek Hall, the university is very well-aware of the childcare issues that faculty, students and staff are having.

“The task force that was formed is working in partnership with the NMU administration to look at options and possibilities moving forward. There are opportunities for grants and those are being explored and the rally today really shows the need for childcare on campus,” said Hall.

Along with advocating for better child care options in the region, the task force also is working on issues such as the worker shortage in the Upper Peninsula.

“We really need to come together as a community to figure this out because families cannot go back to work if they do not have child care. I think it would really boost our economy if we could have more childcare solutions.”

The task force says the next step is for NMU to apply for a grant in order to build the early childhood education center.

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