Employers have the opportunity to provide affordable child care today.
For the past few years, your Grand Rapids Chamber Government Affairs team has been hard at work addressing the child care crisis in West Michigan and beyond. Led by the Chamber, a coalition of policy makers, industry leaders and other stakeholders developed The Michigan Tri-Share Pilot (opens in new window).
Tri-Share is an innovative public/private partnership that equally shares the cost of child care between employers, employees, and the state of Michigan. This initiative is the first of its kind child care support program in the country is now in 57 counties across Michigan and is currently enrolling participants.
Employers are signing up around the state, including several West Michigan businesses like Shape Corp. who has several employees currently enrolled.
“Affordable childcare was a known barrier both for recruitment and retention of our team members. Coming up with a solution was challenging. The MI Tri-Share Program was a good fit for us,” says Erica Phelps, Health & Wellbeing Specialist with Shape Corp. “We’re excited to be participating in this pilot and look forward to sharing results. So far, we’re seeing a great response and we look forward to continue to work with this game-changing program.”
Vibrant Futures Leads Kent County Child Care Support
In Kent County, Vibrant Futures (opens in new window) was recently selected as the facilitator HUB and is currently accepting applications.
“Vibrant Futures is honored to take the lead in Kent County for Tri-Share building upon our nearly 50 years of service and support to the child care and business sectors,” says Chana Edmond-Verley, CEO of Vibrant Futures. “The potential of Tri-Share is a trifecta of wins from improving child care affordability for families to attracting talent for employers to achieving better outcomes for children. After months of the formidable effects of the pandemic, the genius of leveraged investments from connected stakeholders like employees, employers and the State of Michigan can only strengthen our economy in Kent County.”
For information on how employers, employees and child care providers can participate, please contact Vibrant Futures Tri-Share coordinator Ann Kluting at firstname.lastname@example.org or (616) 451-8281 x232 or visit www.vibrantfuturesmi.org/trishare-pilot-program/ (opens in new window).
Moving forward, it is the Chamber’s hope that this program can be scaled fully state-wide. We’re thankful that Governor Whitmer included another $2.5M of funding in her 2022 budget proposal. The pilot is set to run through the end of 2022.
Interested in learning more or joining the coalition? Contact Nate Henschel, Director of Government Affairs, at Nate@grandrapids.org