WEDC: Wisconsin Workforce Innovation Grant Will Help YMCA Expand Child Care and Youth Programs in Green County
MONROE, WI. FEB. 14, 2022 – A state Workforce Innovation Grant worth up to $3.7 million will help make Green County Family YMCA plans to expand and create a child care center and wing a reality of youth development.
“The Green County community has truly come together to not only create needed child care spaces, but to support the children, the dedicated professionals who care for them, and all families,” Missy said. Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. “A variety of groups will be offering everything from mental health services to mentoring at this facility. I believe these investments will pay off with a healthier and happier workforce.
Hughes, Department of Children and Families Secretary Emilie Amundson, Department of Administration Secretary-designate Kathy Blumenfeld and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary-designate Amy Pechacek participated in a grant roundtable on Monday at the Ludlow Mansion in Monroe.
“Wisconsin’s record unemployment rate and strong labor force participation rate means equitable access to affordable, quality child care is more important than ever,” Pechacek said. “The Green County YMCA and its partners are leading the way with a model that promises communities across the state to improve child care and youth programs.”
In December, Governor Tony Evers announced that 12 projects across Wisconsin would receive up to $59.5 million in Workforce Innovation Grants to help address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. workforce, from childcare to worker training.
“Child care needs are workforce needs, and this innovative, collaborative project is needed more than ever to support our hard-working Wisconsin families,” Blumenfeld said.
The Green County Family YMCA plans to build a 5,000 square foot state-of-the-art daycare and preschool wing for accredited programs and classes, along with the addition of a 6,000 square foot youth development wing. The YMCA partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Vitality Youth Services, Jacob’s Swag, Avenues Counseling and the Multicultural Awareness Program to offer services and programs in the Youth Development Wing.
“Research continues to show that children who have access to high-quality, affordable care are more likely to live healthier lives and perform better in school and as adults,” Amundson said. “The YMCA’s plan to expand services and supports for children of all ages will benefit not only the children and families served by the program, but also the community as a whole.
While the YMCA currently offers a preschool program and after-school care, the expansion will allow them to serve children ages 6 weeks to 18 years old.
“This will allow us to significantly increase the number of people we serve,” said Luke Smetters, director of membership and community engagement for the Green County Family YMCA.
In addition to making more child care spaces available, the expansion will allow the YMCA and its partners to offer a variety of youth programs – from mentoring to mental health services.
“Having a foundation that’s diverse, multicultural, and really inclusive of everyone is really important,” said Victoria Solomon, associate professor of community resource development in UW-Madison’s Division of Extension – Green County. Solomon is also part of the Green County Multicultural Awareness Program, a YMCA partner, which will host some programs in the new wing.
In addition to offering support to young people of all ages and backgrounds, it is important to offer programming and adult support in the lives of these children – both family and child care professionals. children at the center, said Megan Schilt, licensed professional counselor and founder of Avenues Counseling. .
Avenues hopes to work with adults as well as children to build a culture that recognizes and supports the importance of caregiving, Schilt said. The hope would be that it could reduce burnout among child care staff and stress among parents.
“We are stressed. We’re maxed out and that trickles down to the kids,” Schilt said. “This building, this space could be a hub where we can build positive experiences and relationships for children…. We try to raise awareness of how we can all support each other.
The Workforce Innovation Grants are funded by $100 million in US federal Rescue Plan Act funds. Applications for a second round of funding open on February 22. More information about the program can be found here: wedc.org/workforce-innovation-