Increased funding expands MI Tri-Share Child Care pilot program
MUSKEGON, MI — Increased earmarked funding from the State of Michigan recently resulted in an expansion to the MI Tri-Share Child Care pilot program launched in March. Based on recommendations from the Michigan Poverty Task Force, led by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has allocated an additional $2.5 million to support and expand MI Tri-Share Child Care. This innovative new program addresses the need for affordable child care, and splits the cost three-ways — between state funding, employers enrolled in the program, and eligible employees.
In March, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan (GIWM) was designated as one of three regional facilitator hubs for administering the program to employers located in Muskegon County. The other two original regional facilitator hubs chosen are: Saginaw Intermediate School District, serving the Great Lakes Bay Region; and the United Way of Northwest Michigan, serving a rural region in Northwest Lower Michigan.
The boost in funding has allowed the Goodwill-managed hub to expand its service beyond Muskegon County to also include: Ottawa, Oceana, Newaygo, Lake, and Mason counties. Goodwill’s partner in delivering the program in Ottawa County is Ready for School, a school-readiness nonprofit serving the Holland/Zeeland/Hamilton community. Statewide, the Tri-Share program is now serving 24 counties. By the end of the year, six additional regional hubs will be added, bringing the total to nine. Additionally, the household income range for eligibility has broadened, opening the program up to more participants.
“Tri-Share offers a solution to both employers and workers regarding the lack of affordable child care which continues to be a significant barrier to work,” said Goodwill President and CEO Jeanette Hoyer.
“This program offers our members a powerful recruitment and retention tool,” said Employers Association of West Michigan President Lisa Sabourin. “Making child care affordable helps differentiate an employer during recruitment, and helps retain the talent they need to successfully operate their businesses. The expansion of the program to employers in neighboring counties is great news.”
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Goodwill Program Manager Catrina Rule has been partnering with local employers, assisting eligible employees in securing child care services, collaborating with child care providers, and the fulfilling the administrative duties of the program.
“Employers outside of Muskegon County have requested to participate. Now we can serve that demand,” Rule said. “We anticipate participation to ramp up expeditiously.”
Employers, employees, and child care providers interested in taking advantage of this program should call (231) 722-7871, ext. 1015, or visit Goodwill’s Programs and Services page at bit.ly/TriShare for FAQs and an income eligibility guide.