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Governor proposes investment in a pilot childcare program.

The playground at Lowell Elementary School in Tacoma, Wash., sat empty on Tuesday. According to Tacoma Public Schools, Lowell was closed after someone at the school tested presumptive positive for the novel coronavirus.
Ted S. Warren
/
AP
The playground at Lowell Elementary School in Tacoma, Wash., sat empty on Tuesday. According to Tacoma Public Schools, Lowell was closed after someone at the school tested presumptive positive for the novel coronavirus.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is proposing investment in a pilot childcare program created by the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. The public private solution to affordable childcare is growing in popularity across the state.

The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce has long supported affordable childcare as an education and workforce development issue.

It initiated a pilot program in 2021 called MI Tri-Share, making childcare more affordable by splitting costs three ways between the state, working families and employers. The pilot initially focused on one rural, suburban and urban area. In its infancy, the pandemic has forced MI Tri-Share to grow up quickly as employers seek to fill jobs in a competitive job market.

“I’ve heard from colleagues across the country already wanting to know about Tri-Share and the work that Michigan is leading on in the child care space.”

Nate Henschel is Director of Government Affairs with the Grand Rapids Chamber.

MI-Tri Share now covers 52 Michigan counties with the announcement of seven new program facilitators bringing the number to 12.

“Having someone come on board and act as sort of that liaison between all the parties and make sure the payments arrive on time. Make sure everything’s on the up and up and execute the paperwork. That really allows maybe sometimes a smaller employer to get on board that may not have the manpower within to execute the program.”

In her 2023 budget, Governor Gretchen Whitmer is recommending $2.5 million supporting the MI Tri-Share program.