HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – The Copper Country Great Start Collaborative (CCGSC) brought parents, teachers, and community members together Wednesday for a meeting at Michigan Tech University to discuss childcare needs and solutions.
“This was a presentation about data we have collected on the issue,” said CCGSC Director Iola Brubaker. “And a brainstorming session for us to come up with possible solutions for the future.”
One of the biggest issues identified is a lack of people interested in becoming child care workers or providers.
“So, that is the biggest problem we’re seeing right now is that there are not enough people to fill the demand,” said First Children’s Finance Business Development Specialist Melissa Rejc. “There are spaces, there are classrooms, but there are not enough people to take care of those children.”
To counter this, the Collaborative has teamed up with the Rural Childcare Innovation Program through First Children’s Finance. The organization helps businesses and groups navigate the financial side of child care through a multi-step process.
“What they do is that they give us a model to follow and steps to follow to help us develop, explore the issue, get community engagement, and develop an action plan to help address the issues,” continued Brubaker. “And right now, we’re in the community engagement step of that process.”
Rejc says making potential workers aware of the child care need is a key step.
“Job recruitment through the local high schools, encouraging them to take a part-time job working in a child-care facility,” continued Rejc. “The State of Michigan has just lowered the age to 16, so that may help.”
Next, the collaborative will go over brainstormed ideas from today’s meeting to form a plan tackling the issues going forward.
If you’re interested in being involved, contact Director Brubaker at the Keweenaw Family Resource Center.
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