FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 15, 2021
(269) 382-0490 ext. 211
KALAMAZOO, MI – The Edison Early Childhood Education Career Pathway has received a $300,000 Child Care Innovation Award from the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC). The funds will be used to launch Phase 2 of the program and scale up efforts to develop a sustainable career path that addresses the growing need for qualified early learning professionals in the Edison community of Kalamazoo.
This partnership, led by the Kalamazoo Literacy Council (KLC), Southwest Child Care Resources, and YWCA Kalamazoo, will expand child care availability and access through entrepreneurial support to community members who wish to obtain credentials in early childhood learning and development. Localized support provided to those entering the career pathway ensures that each individual’s unique educational needs are met, improving their chances for academic and professional success. This intensive, individualized, and localized support will improve program implementation, and ultimately, outcomes for children and families.
The Edison Early Childhood Education Career Pathway’s successful pilot phase began in January 2021 and ended in June of 2021. The Phase 2 expansion begins on November 18, 2021 and will prioritize child care innovation by:
● Aligning current services, in order to remove the burden of navigating complicated systems for those interested in obtaining credentials.
● Increasing neighborhood representation of qualified individuals.
● Creating space for interested neighborhood entrepreneurs to explore their potential as licensed child care providers.
This collaborative effort sets a strong precedent for the sustainability of local workforces. It will help address the employment and employability gaps in the Edison neighborhood, especially qualified staffing gaps in child care programs. Investing in those who know their neighborhoods and communities best not only increases access to employment opportunities, but also establishes exemplary talent development and retention.
The Edison Early Childhood Education Career Pathway is a partnership between YWCA Kalamazoo, Southwest Child Care Resources, Kalamazoo Literacy Council, Goodwill Industries of Southwest Michigan, The Kalamazoo Promise, Western Michigan University, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative–Kalamazoo, Van Buren ISD, Michigan Works! Southwest, El Concilio, and Change Agent Consulting, LLC.