Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2022
Governor Whitmer Delivers up to $1,000 Bonuses to Over 38,000 Childcare Professionals
Nearly 6,000 childcare providers receiving $365 million in grants to provide bonuses to staff and keep childcare facilities open for Michigan families.
LANSING, Mich. - Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer continued her commitment to support Michigan families by investing $365 million in childcare programs across the state. Nearly 6,000 childcare programs received funding through the Child Care Stabilization Grant. These funds will help keep programs open and provide $1,000 bonuses for full time staff.
"Many Michigan families rely on childcare to keep their children safe, happy, healthy, and learning while parents work or go to school. It's simple. Our economy cannot thrive without a strong childcare industry," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "I worked across the aisle to secure the largest investment in childcare in the state's history. This funding helps keep our childcare businesses open, makes childcare more affordable for families, and delivers bonuses to childcare professionals. All our kids deserve a great start. These grants are another investment in their future."
Grants were awarded to licensed centers, group homes, family homes, and tribal childcare providers. Funds must be used to support operational expense and a site's COVID response.
"I'm so grateful for this grant. It's giving me the opportunity to offer free childcare to my families. I also plan to use funding to give my employee a raise. I want an employee that will stay here and be valued more than a minimum wage employee," said Tamie Stampfly, owner and operator of a family group home childcare in Berrien County. "I've owned a home-based childcare business for 10 years. I love this job, but it's hard work. I work 18 hours a day. The pandemic makes it even more challenging. This grant makes it just a little bit easier to stay open and focus on teaching my kids."
"I'm honored to serve the children of Flint in two centers. Unfortunately, one of my sites has been temporarily closed due to the pandemic and staffing shortages," said Teyana Sprinkle, owner and operator of the Honey Bee Palace Childcare Center in Flint. "This grant will help me reopen my program, recruit the qualified staff, and continue providing high quality early learning for children and families in my community."
"The grant funding is like being thrown a life preserver to finally pay all staff more than minimum wage as well as provide more than minimum training," said Theresa Buggia, owner and director at Kids Club in Tuscola County. "I plan to offer bonuses as staff further their education on behalf of the children. This will include additional training for a deeper understanding of how to serve children with special needs and trauma because these are a part of our everyday."
Nearly all applicants also requested and received funding for $1,000 sign on bonuses to fill staff vacancies. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity is partnering with the Michigan Works! network in February to host virtual job fairs to fill these jobs. Interested applicants should visit Michigan.gov/workforce for more details on these events.
"Quality, accessible childcare is necessary for our communities and economy to grow and flourish. The pandemic has made it clear that early childhood educators' work is essential. The Michigan Works! system looks forward to partnering with the State of Michigan to help job seekers across Michigan connect to the opportunities within this dynamic and rewarding industry," said Carrie Rosingana, CEO of the Capital Area Michigan Works!.
Retaining licensed childcare providers is critical in the state's economic recovery.
"Businesses thrive when employees and their families have the stability of quality childcare options. Further, this is a long-term investment in the talent pipeline that puts Michigan at a competitive advantage in future generations." Said Brad Williams, Vice President of Government Relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber. "Bipartisan leadership from Gov. Whitmer and the Legislature to invest in families today and our workforce tomorrow is one more step to proving that Michigan's business climate continues to improve."
"It's no secret that businesses are having trouble finding employees, and one major barrier to entering the workforce right now is access to affordable childcare," said Andy Johnston, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Grand Rapids Chamber. "These stabilization grants are a great step in helping solve the childcare shortage in Michigan, and I thank Governor Whitmer for her leadership, as well as the legislative leaders in Lansing for making this critical investment." Johnston added that "We look forward to continuing to advocate for more access to affordable, quality childcare moving forward."
The Child Care Stabilization Grant is a non-competitive grant for childcare programs to help stabilize operations and support the health and safety of children and staff. Eligible licensed childcare programs applied for funding in fall 2021. A second application will be released in late spring 2022. Governor Whitmer signed a bipartisan budget that included $730 million in American Rescue Plan funds to support Stabilization Grants and staff bonuses.
Staff in the Michigan Department of Education's Office of Child Development and Care worked diligently with the support of partners across the state to manage and process the grants to ensure that all eligible child care providers were able to apply for and receive the funds as quickly as possible. The MDE has also published summary data and a breakdown of grant awards by county and provider. Additional information about the program is available at Michigan.gov/childcare.