State opens applications for child care pilot facilitator hubs

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Applications to become a facilitator hub are now open for a new child care pilot program that is intended to put Michigan on the map as a leader in child care innovation.

Championed by a statewide coalition developed by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and legislatively led by state Rep. Greg VanWoerkom and Sen. Curt VanderWall, $1 million has been allocated for this pilot program in Michigan’s fiscal year 2021 budget.

The coalition is comprised of businesses, key state leaders, legislators, research and children advocacy groups to tackle child care accessibility, affordability and quality. Since August 2019, the coalition has been working to build a pilot that is the first of its kind in the nation.

“Child care is a top priority for the Grand Rapids Chamber. It has a significant impact on early childhood outcomes, and lack of child care is a big obstacle for those trying to get back to work,” said Alexa Kramer, director of government affairs at the Grand Rapids Chamber. “Our coalition built out this pilot to make quality child care in Michigan more accessible. We are excited to see the pilot kick off and will work to see it a success with an aim of making this a statewide program in the future.”

The pilot seeks to split the cost of child care between state, family and business. Three locations, including Muskegon, will be selected through the application process to represent an urban, suburban and rural setting for the pilot. A facilitator hub from each region will apply, and this hub will be the fiduciary and act as a liaison between area child care providers and businesses interested in participating. The hub also will assist with the administrative needs of the child care providers. Businesses that elect to be in this program will be able to offer child care as a benefit up to 250% of the federal poverty level.

More information about the program and the application form to be a regional facilitator hub is here.

Coalition participants

  • Grand Rapids Chamber
  • Small Business Association
  • Traverse Connect
  • Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance
  • Michigan Chamber
  • Detroit Regional Chamber
  • Talent 2025
  • Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader
  • Goeff Hansen, Main Street Legislative Consulting
  • Michigan League for Public Policy
  • Michigan’s Children
  • Michigan Department of Education
  • Curt VanderWall and staff
  • Greg VanWoerkom and staff
  • Jack O’Malley and staff
  • Michele Hoitenga and staff

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