March 14th, 2023

The Right Place, Inc. & Vibrant Futures receive $150,000 grant to assist in expanding childcare options in region

The Right Place will partner with Vibrant Futures to provide leadership and support in expanding the childcare footprint in Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Barry and Ionia counties

West Michigan Ionia County Kent County Montcalm County Mecosta County Talent

Collaboration between The Right Place, Inc. and Vibrant Futures has resulted in a $150,000 grant to expand the childcare footprint across Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Barry, and Ionia counties. The funding was awarded through Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Caring for Michigan’s Future Initiative, which aims to create 1,000 new childcare programs in the state by the end of 2024, thereby increasing workforce participation. The regional planning effort will be administered by Michigan's Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC).

To achieve this objective, a collaborative team from The Right Place and Vibrant Futures will use a regional economic planning approach to assess the shortages in childcare, with an emphasis on strategic alignment, mutual reinforcement, and economies of scale. The regional planning will involve thorough data mining, identification of gaps and root causes, alignment across sectors, leveraging of resources, and attraction of new investments.

This effort has sparked the formation of the Coalition to Expand Childcare Supply in the Western Region (CECCS/WR), comprising businesses, economic developers, planning and zoning, childcare businesses, intermediaries, parents, and philanthropy.

"As the Greater Grand Rapids regional economy continues to grow, we know childcare remains a barrier to increasing labor force participation," said Victor Joaquin, Talent Program Manager at The Right Place. "This grant award will support the development of comprehensive and inclusive childcare strategies for our community.”

"When we create the conditions for success, our entire community thrives," said Chana Edmond-Verley, Vibrant Futures CEO. "American business leaders have always achieved greatness by making sure employment conditions allow workers to contribute, earn, learn, and grow. Accessible and affordable childcare is a 21st-century piece of that time-proven formula."

On March 29, 2023, the CECCS/WR will hold its first meeting to explore existing challenges and potential solutions.