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WATCH: Lt. Gov. Gilchrist launches Caring for MI Future plan

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist
Posted at 2:30 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 22:32:08-04

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist kicked off the state’s Caring for MI Future plan in Battle Creek Monday afternoon.

The Michigan governor’s office says the plan aims to provide families with more child care options with 1,000 new locations by 2024.

Gilchrist was joined by Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Director Orlene Hawks and Michigan Department of Education State Superintendent Michael Rice.

The plan outlines a goal to open 500 child care locations each year for the next two years.

The state of Michigan plans to invest $100 million toward the project, which includes efforts to hire more child care providers and staff members throughout the state.

"It’s the largest investment in a single year in childcare expansion in the history of the state of Michigan," said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. "We know that we need more professionals to support more families and support more children to position more communities to become successful."

Watch the announcement here:

Full video: Lt. Gov. Gilchrist launches Caring for MI Future plan

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said over the past two years, around 9,000 child care workers were lost.

Meanwhile, it cares for around 386,000, and it's still not enough.

"Nearly half of all Michigan families live in a community with not enough childcare," said Orlene Hawks, the Director of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. "This has real implications for families who are forced to leave the workforce or must piece together childcare coverage that doesn’t meet their needs or needs of their children."

The owner of Bright Light Early Care and Education in Battle Creek said despite just opening three months ago, the waitlist is already more than the capacity she can serve.

"Like most of the state, Battle Creek, has a distinct need for childcare," said Bright Light Early Care and Education's Owner Lindsey Potter. "It was so obvious that we needed more childcare options locally. These options had to handle the sheer number of children needing childcare, but also a variety of care models and settings for children to become a part of."

Entrepreneurs who are looking to open centers will have access to support for identifying and renovating facilities, startup funding, recruitment of staff and business development tools.

"We want to make sure that the pathways to entering this high demand, high need setup of business opportunities are actually paved for you, that they make sense. This about supporting our families," said Lt. Gov. Gilchrist.

The plan is part of a bipartisan $1.4 billion investment to expand access to quality, affordable child care and get Michigan families back to work.

It also includes $700 million in stabilization grants to help cover costs for child care providers and help them stay open.

If you are a provider, click here to apply for a Spring 2022 Child Care Stabilization Grant.

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