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Gov. Whitmer Announces Grants to Help Communities Expand Access to Low or No-Cost Child Care 


March 10, 2023         

Contact: press@michigan.gov

Gov. Whitmer Announces Grants to Help Communities Expand Access to Low or No-Cost Child Care

Investments will benefit children, families, and small businesses in 81 counties, every region

LANSING, MI. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that 16 organizations serving Michiganders in 81 counties are receiving $2.4 million in Regional Child Care Planning Grants from the Early Childhood Investment Corporation’s (ECIC) Child Care Innovation Fund, helping them expand child care options, serving more families, and lowering costs for parents.

“Child care is the backbone of our economy,” said Governor Whitmer. “Access to quality, affordable child care supports parents as they work, ensures kids have the support they need to grow into their best selves, and helps businesses hire, recruit, and retain talent. To achieve these big goals, we need everyone to pitch in. Today, I’m proud to announce that 16 organizations across the state are stepping up to make child care more affordable and accessible for Michiganders in 81 counties and every region of the state. Together, we will build on our vision to ensure every family has access to child care that meets their needs.”

16 Regional Child Care Planning Grant recipients will each receive $150,000. The grantees, by MEDC Region, are:

  • Region 1: Upper Peninsula – UPWARD Talent Council
  • Region 2: Northwest – Networks Northwest
  • Region 3: Northeast – Northeast Michigan Council of Governments
  • Region 3: Northeast – Develop Iosco, Inc.
  • Region 4: West Michigan- The Right Place, Inc. & Vibrant Futures  
  • Region 4: West Michigan – United Way of the Lakeshore
  • Region 4: West Michigan – Ottawa Area Intermediate School District.
  • Region 5: East Central Michigan – Middle Michigan Development Corporation.
  • Region 6: East Michigan – Flint and Genesee Chamber Foundation
  • Region 6: East Michigan – Huron County Economic Development Corporation.
  • Region 7: South Central – Lansing Economic Area Partnership
  • Region 8: Southwest – Pulse @ W.E. Upjohn Institute of Employment Research
  • Region 9: Southeast Michigan – Lenawee Economic Development Corporation.
  • Region 9: Southeast Michigan – Ann Arbor SPARK
  • Region 10: Detroit Metro – Macomb County Planning and Economic Development
  • Region 10: Detroit Metro – IFF & Hope Starts Here

“This is an exciting time as for the first time ever, in many communities across Michigan, economic development leaders are coming together with early childhood leaders to work alongside municipalities and major employers on solving their community’s child care crisis,” said Dawne Bell, CEO of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. “We are so thankful for this investment from the MI Dept. of Education and our strategic partnership with MEDC to be able to support regions across Michigan to accelerate investments in child care.”

“Vibrant Futures and The Right Place are thrilled to be teaming up for this game-changing opportunity to lead the regional planning in the western region,” says Chana Edmond-Verley, CEO of Vibrant Futures.  “We know that child care is an essential and strategic component to 21st century talent efforts, especially when the aim is business attraction.  Business growth is simply stifled without it. The regional planning effort will prove to be a gateway to increased child care supply, and economic alignment; and a critical accelerator for all Michigan families needing child care to get to work.”

Caring for MI Future 

ECIC received $12.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding in August, awarded by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) as part of Caring for MI Future— a $100 million investment to help more Michigan families find quality, affordable child care in their community. Today, too many communities do not have enough child care options to meet demand. To respond, the state is investing $100 million to dramatically increase access to child care across the state and open 1,000 new, or expanded, child care programs by the end of 2024. This strategy responds to the most pressing needs facing child care entrepreneurs and creates sustainable systems to support the current and next generation of child care business owners.

Through the Regional Child Care Planning Grant, ECIC, in partnership with MDE and MEDC, will bring economic development, employers, municipalities, parents, and early childhood leaders together in regional coalitions to understand child care facilities and workforce needs and develop a plan that meets the needs and preferences of working families, and address Michigan’s pressing need for high-quality, affordable child care.




The Right Place and Vibrant Futures Plan Regional Child Care Expansion

PRESS RELEASE                                                                          Contact: Barbara Berens,

March 13, 2023                                                                                                Vibrant Futures

                                                                                                                     451-8281, ext. 227


Childcare Shortage Choking Michigan Growth

The Right Place and Vibrant Futures Plan Regional Expansion


As Michigan tackles several complex challenges constraining workforce participation and growth, two unlikely partners are teaming up with a simple, straightforward, and strategic fix: childcare. Joining forces to find creative regional solutions are The Right Place, Grand Rapids’ leading economic development organization, and Vibrant Futures, a Michigan nonprofit improving childcare access, opportunity, and quality in nearly half of Michigan counties.

“For parents, getting a job offer is like getting the ball to the 50 yard line on the field of opportunity,” said Chana Edmond-Verley, Chief Executive Officer of Vibrant Futures. “If families want to reach the end zone, they need to find child care too. To get more players on the field, childcare is as mission-critical as job training, work readiness, and transportation. Parents cannot work without it.”

With leadership and strategic guidance from Vibrant Futures and The Right Place, today begins a regional effort to boost workforce participation by expanding childcare capacity in five counties. Funding comes from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Caring for Michigan’s Future Initiative, which aims to drive creation of 1,000 new childcare programs by the end of 2024 and dramatically increase workforce participation statewide. Michigan’s Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC) administers the regional planning effort statewide led by Joan Blough of ECIC’s Childcare Innovation Fund.

“Quality, affordable childcare is the backbone of our economy, and I will work with anyone to invest in childcare professionals, businesses, and facilities,” said Governor
Gretchen Whitmer, “so parents can go back to work knowing their kids are safe and cared for.”

A collaborative team from The Right Place and Vibrant Futures will assess childcare shortages in Kent, Montcalm, Mecosta, Barry, and Ionia counties through a regional economic planning lens, with an emphasis on strategic alignment, mutual reinforcement, and economic growth.

“With labor participation rates at an all-time low and key sector growth planned, this work is critically needed to unlock workforce growth,” said Victor Joaquin, Talent
Program Manager at The Right Place.
“We need to face the economic realities regarding workforce constraints and address circumstances such as childcare with the same clear-sighted, level-headed thinking that we apply to other factors. Comprehensive regional talent strategies of today must include childcare as a key component to economic development.”

As part of the regional planning and action, the effort will include robust data mining, identification of gaps and root causes, alignment across sectors, leveraging of resources, and attraction of new investments, including Tri-Share, an example of one innovation. The effort has sparked the formation of the Coalition to Expand Childcare Supply in the Western Region (CECCS/WR), with growing membership from business, economic development, planning and zoning, childcare businesses, intermediaries, parents, and philanthropy.  The regional kickoff meeting is March 29, 2023 for Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Barry, and Ionia.

“When we create the conditions for success, our entire community thrives,” said Edmond-Verley. “American business leaders have always achieved greatness by making sure employment conditions allow workers to contribute, earn, learn, and grow. Accessible and affordable childcare is a 21st century piece of that time-proven formula.”





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Serving 26 Counties in Michigan

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