WEDC: Wisconsin’s Workforce Innovation Grant to allow YMCA to expand child care and youth programming in Green County

Monroe, Wisconsin FEBRUARY. 14, 2022 – A state grant for labor innovation of up to $ 3.7 million will help realize the YMCA Family County’s plans to expand and establish a child care center and youth development wing.

“The Green County community has really come together to not only create the necessary childcare facilities, but also to support dedicated children who care for them and all families,” said Miss Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. “In this institution, different groups will offer everything from mental health services to mentoring. I believe that these investments will pay off with a healthier and happier workforce. “

Hughes, Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Affairs Emily Amundson, Secretary of the Department of Administration Katie Blumenfeld and Secretary of the Department of Labor Development (DWD) Amy Pechachek attended a roundtable on a grant Monday at the Monroe Ludlow Mansion.

“The record low unemployment rate in Wisconsin and the high level of labor force participation mean that equal access to quality and affordable child care is more important than ever,” Pechacek said. “YMCA Green County and its partners are leading the way with a model that promises communities across the state to improve child and youth care programs.”

In December, Gov. Tony Evers announced that 12 projects across Wisconsin would receive up to $ 59.5 million in labor innovation grants to help address some of the state’s most pressing issues, from childcare to employee training.

“The need for childcare is a need for manpower, and this innovative and collaborative project is needed now more than ever to support our hard-working families from Wisconsin,” Blumenfeld said.

The Green County YMCA family plans to build a 5,000-square-foot childcare and preschool wing. feet for licensed programs and classes, and add a 6,000-square-foot youth development wing. feet. The YMCA collaborates with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Vitality Youth Services, Jacob’s Swag, Avenues Counseling and the Multicultural Outreach Program to provide services and programs in the youth development wing.

“Research continues to show that children who have access to high-quality and affordable care are more likely to live healthier lives and learn better in school and in adulthood,” Amundson said. “The YMCA’s plan to expand services and support for children of all ages will benefit not only the children and families served by the program, but the community at large.”

While the YMCA currently offers a preschool program and after-school care, the expansion will allow them to care for children ages 6 weeks to 18.

“This will allow us to significantly expand the number of people we serve,” said Luke Smetters, director of membership and community liaison with the YMCA Green County family.

In addition to creating more childcare facilities, the expansion will allow the YMCA and its partners to offer a variety of programs for young people, from mentoring to mental health services.

“Having a diverse, multicultural and truly inclusive basis is very important,” said Victoria Solomon, an associate professor of community resource development at UW-Madison’s Green County Expansion Division. Solomon is also part of Green County’s multicultural outreach program, a partner of the YMCA that will conduct some programs in the new wing.

In addition to supporting young people of all ages and backgrounds, it is important to offer programs and support to adults in the lives of these children – both families and child care professionals at the center, said Megan Schilt, licensed professional consultant and founder of Avenues Counseling. .

Avenue hopes to work with both adults and children to create a culture that recognizes the importance of caring and supports it, Schilt said. Hopefully this can reduce burnout among childcare workers and stress among parents.

“We are under stress. We are tense, and it concerns children, ”Schilt said. “This building, this space can become a center where we can build positive experiences and relationships for children … We are trying to raise awareness of how we can all support each other.”

Workforce innovation grants are paid at $ 100 million to the federal funds of the U.S. Rescue Plan. Applications for the second round of funding open on February 22nd. More information about the program can be found here: wedc.org/workforce-innovation-grant

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