Working on child care solutions
By DREYMA BERONJA
Journal Staff Writer
MARQUETTE — Marquette County can expect to have more in-home child care providers by fall. On Thursday, the Marquette County Childcare Coalition held a presentation to announce its Childcare Business Lab Pilot program.
Since the beginning of the year, the MCCC has engaged in discussions to address the need for child care. The coalition includes representatives from the community, local government and nonprofit and economic development organizations.
Through the coalition’s work, it found a lack of child care openings preventing many parents from returning to work, many child care workers not earning family-sustaining wages and certification fees being a barrier for child care providers seeking to build skills.
Christopher Germain, CEO for the Lake Superior Community Partnership, said in a press release that there were three key factors in looking at licensed home-based child care providers as one of the solutions to meet local demand for services.
“Focusing on in-home (providers) allows us to spread the slots across the county, placing them closer to where people live; in-home has a lower start-up cost; and in-home businesses provide an opportunity for families to generate additional income using an existing asset: their home,” Germain said.
During the presentation, the coalition gave a timeframe of what it hopes to have until August. From March to early April, the application portal will be open. After selecting among six to eight applicants, the program will begin in early May when they will take 10-12 weeks to complete the program, graduate by the end of July and hold a graduation ceremony by August.
“The idea is, at the end of that process, to have walked them through all of the areas and hurdles so that they can be up and running after a few months,” said Linda Fowler, president of Regionerate LLC, at the presentation.
The coalition also said that in-home providers who are retiring will help train and mentor the new in-home providers throughout this process.
“You think this is a crisis right now, but in five years we are going to be way worse off than we are right now,” said Lyndsay Carey, director of early childhood education at MARESA. “And in order to ensure that we can continue to go in a positive direction, we need to build up our home providers.”
For more information on MCCC, go to cfofmc.org.
Dreyma Beronja can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 248. Their email address is email@example.com.