Marquette County Child Care Coalition announces pilot program

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 4:22 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Marquette County Child Care Coalition is teaming up with the Community Foundation of Marquette County to address the need for child care in the community.

The organizations are bringing a child care business lab pilot program to the area. Marquette-Alger RESA, Great Start to Quality and Lake Superior Community Partnership are key leaders in the coalition.

“It would focus on in-home child care providers and support them through the process of getting set up so not only just the licensing and startup costs but also from a small business perspective,” Community Foundation of Marquette County CEO Zosia Eppensteiner said.

The pilot is expected to start in February, it is funded with $100,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act which was approved by the Marquette County Board of Commissioners meeting on Oct. 4. In addition, the pilot will leverage funding from a variety of other sources, including government, the business community and private philanthropy.

The community foundation has also established a new fund to support child care needs.

“It will support projects like this but I’m also hoping that our business community will see great value in supporting additional future cohorts of the program,” Eppensteiner said.

Eppensteiner also said the program would be sustained by a cost-sharing model with employers.

“Employers could sponsor one or two licensed in-home daycare providers, provide them with a roadmap on how to get started, connect them with professional development opportunities, everything you need to be successful. that results in a huge return for the business,” Eppensteiner said.

Great Start to Quality Program Director Deb Dupras said its main role will be in training providers.

“We’re looking at mentoring opportunities so providers who have been in the field for a while can mentor new providers so we can look at sustainability,” Dupras said.

Marquette-Alger RESA Director of Early Childhood Education Lyndsay Carey said it will assist Great Start to Quality in training.

“We’ll be working on how we can help with professional development, training and CDA opportunities to make sure people have all the skills necessary to be successful in creating a high-quality program for children in the community,” Carey said.

If you are interested in applying for the program, an announcement regarding application will be coming in the next few months.