STLCC Receives CARES Act Grant for On-Campus Child Care Services at Forest Park
Thursday, January 7, 2021
St. Louis Community College will receive $4 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Child Care Plan funding to improve the quality and availability of child care and early education programs at its Forest Park campus.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson made the announcement Jan. 6.
"Access to quality child care is critical for working families, and attending college is often a full-time job,” Parson said.
STLCC will be able to offer on-site child care by repurposing 15,000-square-feet of existing space in the physical education building. The future center will serve up to 60 children at any given time. The facility will allow students in early childhood education academic programs to gain hands-on experience. Programs and services will be modeled after those offered at the nationally recognized Child Development Laboratory Center at STLCC-Florissant Valley. It will be 12-18 months before the child care center welcomes families.
“Lack of child care is one of the barriers that prevent students from achieving their educational goals, or simply from seeking a college degree in the first place,” said Jeff L. Pittman, Ph.D., STLCC chancellor. “We are grateful for receiving these funds that will help our students with children to enroll and complete a degree or a certificate that will prepare them for living-wage jobs or the chance to earn advanced degrees.”
“Child care is a retention and completion issue for our students. Many have to make the decision between remaining enrolled in college to make progress toward completing a degree, or staying at home with a child or children,” said Christine Davis, Ed.D., STLCC vice chancellor for student affairs. “We are excited for what this grant funding means for them and their families.”
The CARES Act Child Care plan is part of Gov. Parson’s initiative to fund improvements in the quality and availability of child care and early education programs. The funds help establish or expand on-campus child care centers via a one-time grant to support and strengthen access to safe child care for 20 or more children ages 6 weeks to 5 years from low-income families receiving child care subsidies while parents work or pursue education or training. The grant period runs through Oct. 31, 2021.
“The addition of a child care center to the Forest Park campus will provide a much-needed resource for our students with children,” said Julie Fickas, Ed.D., campus president and chief academic officer, STLCC-Forest Park. “This will open up the door of opportunity to many who would like to enroll in classes, but who have not had accessible child care. With so many programs aligned with our community’s workforce needs, this is not only a win for our students, but for our overall community.”
In October 2020, five Missouri college campuses received first-round grants of more than $5 million in funding. The announcement of the second-round grant to STLCC brings the total allocation for the program to nearly $10 million.