Successful North Country Regulated Home Day Care Training Nears Completion with Seven New Businesses Started
Jefferson Community College (JCC) is pleased to announce the results of the first cohort of its North Country Regulated Home Day Care Training Bootcamp (Childcare Bootcamp) and the next cohort of the Childcare Bootcamp, beginning March 2022. The pilot program began in June 2021, serving 20 residents from Jefferson and Lewis counties. The new entrepreneurs will be celebrated on January 6, 2022 in recognition of their achievement, and in support of quality childcare, they will be enrolled in the College’s Introduction to Early Childhood Development course at no cost, which will be completed May 2022.
JCC’s program brought together partners in the community to serve a significant workforce issue – the availability of childcare. The initial spark for the program came from a need, expressed by Lewis County officials, for more childcare in their area. Jefferson County was quick to follow with similar needs, and both counties were able to secure funding for the program to quickly enable JCC in mobilizing strategic partners. This project would not be possible without the strategic investment of Lewis and Jefferson Counties. The available childcare slots per child in each county were such that each was designated as a “childcare desert.” JCC President Ty A. Stone says: “Building innovative partnerships to meet urgent needs in the communities we serve has always been a priority. We heard from community leaders that one of the most significant workforce issues is the availability of childcare. Parents cannot get back to work without care for their children. The College is a leader in Early Childhood Education, producing degree and certificate program graduates to serve our local community. It was only natural that JCC would play a role in meeting this critical need.”
JCC collaborated with the Watertown Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Community Action Planning Council (CAPC) of Watertown to provide the elements of the program. The students participated in a series of early childhood development and small business workshops and benefitted from one-on-one mentorship. The students received support in completing the New York State registration application and approval process, including completing all required health and safety training. Additional supports were provided for program supplies.
Cathy Brodeur, Director of the Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project at CAPC states: "The Bootcamp program has allowed us to begin rebuilding childcare capacity after years of declining options. Our community's ability to support children, families, and employers with high quality care in the community reflects the willingness of cross-sector partners to innovate. Economic development, entrepreneurship skills, and early childhood expertise are all critical to the success of this program, and the creation of new Licensed and Registered slots in a short period of time has been a game-changer for families returning to work."
Travis Proulx, Vice Chancellor for Government Affairs and Marketing at SUNY System Administration commented on the SBDC’s involvement in this strategic partnership: “Access to childcare is key to the North Country’s economic well-being, and right now lack of access happens to be one of the biggest hurdles facing local families. The Watertown SBDC is a founding participant in bringing this bold and innovative project together to support North Country childcare entrepreneurs. Their work is helping childcare startups get the information and support they need to open their doors. I applaud the SBDC staff, SUNY Jefferson, and Lewis and Jefferson County officials for a creative partnership that I believe can be a model for communities statewide. SUNY is excited to watch this program grow in scope and depth in 2022 and beyond!”
Compared to only 10 home childcare businesses opened in the last three years in Jefferson and Lewis counties, 2021 showed progress, due in part to this Regulated Home Day Care Training. Two new home-based childcare businesses in Lewis County and 10 in Jefferson County opened in 2021. JCC expects this number will grow as the remaining pilot program participants open their new businesses, with three more pending at this time. Executive Director of Lewis County Economic Development, Brittany Davis, says: “It was without hesitation that we worked to fund the In-Home Daycare Training Bootcamp pilot program, in partnership with Jefferson County Economic Development. Our initial investments have led to the creation of approximately 30 new childcare spots in less than six months and has sparked additional funding from our respective counties to continue to build on this momentum. Childcare is economic development, and we are helping to solve a large need that will help with business and resident recruitment in future years.” Lewis County Director of Planning and Community Development, Casandra Buell, echoes this sentiment, commenting on the lack of childcare in the area. Buell states: “While this basic amenity is the key to building a local workforce, prosperous communities, and economic growth, childcare also plays an essential role in shaping future generations. With these investments, we hope to provide families with safe and affordable childcare options that will allow parents to re-enter the workforce while providing children with the environment they need for their developing bodies and minds.”
Jefferson Community College is leading the way in this workforce initiative, as the program model is being replicated by several other counties in New York State. The second cohort of the Childcare Bootcamp program is planned to begin March 2022, with initial orientation sessions in January and February 2022. Additionally, JCC is developing an online version of the program on Coursera (an online education provider) and is one of only two community colleges in the New York State utilizing this innovative course delivery method. The new program is expected to launch Fall 2022.
Anyone interested in starting an in-home childcare business in Jefferson or Lewis Counties should contact JCC’s Director of Community Services, Joanna C. Habermann, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-786-2438.
Established on November 7, 1961, Jefferson Community College is the area’s first institution of higher education. Supervised by the State University of New York (SUNY), Jefferson offers 40+ associate degrees and certificates for career preparation or transfer; local access to bachelor’s and advanced degrees through partner institutions; lifelong learning through workshops and seminars; business and industry training; community-based research and provides a forum for the productive discussion of ideas and issues of significance to the community through the Center for Community Studies; and cultural enrichment opportunities for the entire Watertown/Fort Drum region. Jefferson is accredited by the Middle States Association and currently serves approximately 3,800 students, including a significant number of service members and their families.
List of Fall 2021 Graduates
Jefferson Community College Class of 2021 fall graduates who completed their degrees and/or certificates in December 2021 total 114 students with two students receiving two diplomas. Fall graduates will have the opportunity to march in the College's spring Commencement Ceremony to be held in May 2022.