News, Culture and NPR for Central & Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
91.7FM Alpena and WCML-TV Channel 6 Alpena are off the air. Click here to learn more.

North Central Michigan College receives funds for new preschool center

Creative Commons Images

A new program at North Central Michigan College (NCMC) will give future educators classroom experience and provide student parents with another option for childcare.

The community college in Petoskey recently received local and federal funding for its Child Care Initiative (CCI) program and to help bring the planned "four-classroom proof-of-concept prototype built on a true-cost business model" to life.

Jennifer Wixson, CCI coordinator and professor for the early childhood education program at NCMC, said the program will also focus on researching how to improve access to child care in the area.

“We're hearing a lot from community members, employers, especially that that lack of childcare is really impeding the employer's ability to recruit and retain folks and making it so parents are struggling to enter the workforce, ” Wixson said.

Wixson believes a potential contributing factor to the problem is the high turner over of educators and workers.

“We want to do a little research to demonstrate what would have to be done to ensure that we are paying folks a living wage and offering benefits that would in turn stabilize the workforce and lead us to having greater capacity in child in our childcare availability in Emmet County,” Wixson said.

She add the program wants to demonstrate the cost of paying a living wage and benefits can be off set with employers' help. One of their strategies to look for community partners.

A federal grant CCI received will help off set the cost of child care and preschool enrollment for student parents.

Wixson said they're currently looking for a location for the program's proposed child care and preschool. She said says they plan to have the facility opened by next fall.

Rebecca Particka is a reporter / producer for WCMU.