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$2.5M MI Tri-Share Child Care Investment Brings Expansion Opportunities

Applications sought for four new regional facilitator hubs, continued investment coming to initial pilot regions

As part of the state's efforts to increase access to high quality, affordable child care for working families, while also helping to retain talent and remove a major barrier to employment, the Michigan Women's Commission (MWC) is accepting proposals to lead regional program management of the MI Tri-Share Child Care (Tri-Share) pilot program expansion thanks to a $2.5M investment included in the FY 22 budget.

Through Tri-Share, the cost of child care is shared equally by an eligible employee, their employer and the State of Michigan, with coordination being provided regionally by a facilitator hub.

"Every family in Michigan deserves access to quality, affordable childcare that meets their needs," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. "As we emerge from the pandemic and usher in a new era of prosperity for our families, communities and small businesses, we have to understand just how essential childcare is for the economy as a whole. I'm proud of the investments that we have made and continue to make to expand access to childcare so more families can benefit."

The legislature included $2.5M in the FY 22 budget to expand the Tri-Share pilot program following Gov. Whitmer's recommendation. Current pilot regions will receive additional funds to expand their work through Sept. 30, 2022, and a new Request for Proposals (RFP) seeks applications to serve as new regional facilitator hubs for four new pilot regions.

"The staggering cost of child care is one of the biggest economic burdens facing Michigan families," said LEO Director Susan Corbin. "By continuing to invest in child care, we are not only removing barriers for families, we're also investing in the future of our state. We must prioritize this issue today to ensure the flourishing of the next generation while meeting the needs of working parents and the businesses that seek to employ them."

Employees eligible to participate in the Tri-Share pilot must be employed by a participating employer, have an income above 185% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) and below 285% FPL, and not otherwise be eligible for the Child Development and Care Program (commonly called the state child care subsidy). The role of the facilitator hub is to act as a regional intermediary between employers, families, child care providers and the State of Michigan, and to provide overall program management.

"We know that child care is a big issue in getting women back into - and remaining in - the workforce. The pandemic really shines a light on the impacts child care costs have on both employees and employers," said Cheryl Bergman, MWC CEO. "The continued funding for and bipartisan approach to the Tri-Share cost-sharing program has the potential to expand the program to more regions and to help more working families. We look forward to continuing to educate policymakers about the positive impact access to high quality, affordable child care has for both employees and employers."

A coalition of business and advocacy leaders, led by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and Representative Greg VanWoerkom (R-MI-91), championed funding for the pilot program. "The Tri-Share program is having a meaningful impact on working families," said Rep. VanWoerkom. "I am excited to see more communities, employers and families engage in this program to see how we can continue to create affordable and accessible child care."

"We continue to hear from our members that child care is key in helping families and businesses thrive," said Rick Baker, CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber. "We continue to support the expansion of Tri-Share and additional investments in child care throughout Michigan."

Last month, Gov. Whitmer signed the state budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which included a historic investment in child care, allocating $1.4 billion of federal COVID funds to help support childcare providers, reduce costs and expand subsidies to another 105,000 Michigan families. The result is that not only will thousands of parents be able to re-enter the workforce after the disruptions of COVID, but the State is laying the foundation for a more equitable and sustainable long-term base of support for early childhood in Michigan.

The MWC is accepting proposals to lead regional program management of the Tri-Share pilot expansion until 12:00PM (Noon) on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. This RFP seeks applications to serve as new regional facilitator hubs.

Download the full RFP, program description and proposal template.