The Duke Energy Foundation and the Indiana Economic Development Association (IEDA) Foundation today announced $115,000 in grants will be awarded to five organizations working to assess and address child care gaps in Indiana communities.
In recent years, the cost of child care has skyrocketed, and the number of licensed child care providers has shrunk. These challenges have put a strain on working parents and their employers. In response, Duke Energy and IEDA launched a first-of-its-kind child care innovation grants program to provide financial support to communities willing to approach this issue in new and innovative ways.
“A lack of affordable, high-quality child care can prevent parents from advancing in the workforce, hinder children’s access to structured learning at an early age, and burden employers with absenteeism and employee turnover,” said Erin Schneider, managing director of Midwest economic development for Duke Energy. “These grants will help local communities begin to confront this challenge head-on and support working parents.”
More than 40 state and local government entities, local and regional economic development agencies, and public and private nonprofit organizations responded to Duke Energy and IEDA’s request for proposals, collectively requesting more than $1.1 million in funding.
“High-quality child care is an investment we can’t afford to ignore,” said Lee Lewellen, IEDA’s chief executive officer. “Through this infusion of grant funds, we hope to make measurable progress toward closing the child care gap in Indiana communities – supporting children, families, child care workers, employers and the economy.”
IEDA has convened a diverse task force of community leaders and organizations from across the state to develop policy recommendations and educate others on the impact of child care gaps in Indiana. Organizations that applied for grant funding have been invited to join this coalition to share their learnings and to guide future policies and recommendations.
Grants were awarded to the following organizations. Quotes from each on the impact of the grants can be found here.
- Carroll County Economic Development Corporation and the Early Learning Alliance for Carroll County – $6,000
The Carroll County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) and the Early Learning Alliance for Carroll County (ELACC) will develop a network of child care providers through a series of trainings and educational opportunities for new and existing providers. These trainings will focus on babysitting basics; CPR and first aid; and professional development and licensure. In addition, CCEDC and ELACC intend to organize an Early Learning Expo to provide resources, networking and educational training, accreditation and certification opportunities for local child care providers. These efforts aim to increase child care capacity within the county, bridge the gap for parents and child care providers, and heighten the quality of local child care options.
- Community Education Coalition – $39,500
The Community Education Coalition, in partnership with Su Casa, Learn by Heart and the Indiana University ServeDesign Center, will pilot a six-month coaching and business accelerator program to support the growth and development of high-quality child care programs in the Columbus area, with an emphasis on recruiting within the Latino community. The organizations will provide approximately 250 hours of direct on-site coaching, tailored to each prospective child care provider’s unique skills, education and experiences, to guide them through the licensure process.
In addition to coaching support, the Indiana University ServeDesign Center will connect the faculty and students of the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design with current and prospective child care providers seeking to design or redesign their spaces for optimal learning and to meet licensing standards.
- Community Foundation of Huntington County – $30,000
The Community Foundation of Huntington County intends to stand up a Child Care Business Lab, which will serve as a platform for developing and connecting aspiring entrepreneurs with turnkey models, training support, and access to capital investment and start-up opportunities. The goal is to attract and support sustainable, high-quality child care businesses that, over time, will bridge the child care gap for working families in Huntington County.
- Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County – $21,500
The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of Wayne County intends to partner with local employers to create and support a child care subsidy program to help offset the high cost of child care for the local workforce. In addition, the EDC of Wayne County intends to leverage a new digital platform to manage child care subsidies and tax credits, and connect the local workforce to child care options. Providers in the community will have the ability to register available seats in their facilities, and working parents will have the ability to search for available child care options that accommodate their schedules.
- One Southern Indiana and Ivy Tech Sellersburg – $18,000
One Southern Indiana and Ivy Tech Sellersburg will conduct various community meetings, surveys and focus groups with stakeholders, parents, employers and local child care providers to better understand the child care gaps in the community. The organizations will analyze the data collected and develop a comprehensive plan to improve the quality and accessibility of child care options in Southern Indiana.
For more information about the grant program, visit ieda.org/Foundation.
Duke Energy Foundation
The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The Foundation contributes more than $2 million annually in charitable gifts to Indiana and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars. More information about the Foundation can be found at duke-energy.com/Foundation.
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