Yavapai College (YC) wants to help aspiring students whose childcare costs have kept their college dreams out of reach.
The college is part of a three-year pilot program through the Arizona Department of Economic Security aimed at getting parents into the classroom. The Higher Education Childcare Subsidy will pay up to $725 per child, per month, in childcare expenses for qualified full-time students in the fields of nursing, nursing intent, early childhood and K-12 education.
“This is going to be a game-changer,” Yavapai College Dean Joan E. Fisher said. “Childcare is a leading obstacle for parents who enter or complete a degree program. We’re excited about the possibilities this will offer students, their children and families in our community.”
The subsidy program will allocate $150,000 toward childcare expenses for community college students each year with a goal of recruiting and training more teachers and medical professionals.
“Arizona has a severe shortage of nurses, early childhood educators and K-12 teachers,” Fisher explained. “We are targeting those people who would go back to school if their childcare expenses weren’t so high.”
The college estimates the program could provide full-time, year-round care for 17 children or part-time care for 25 children over the three-year period.
At Yavapai College, the Childcare in Education Subsidy will be part of support program that secures the best possible circumstances for kids.
“It’s more than handing out money,” Fisher said.
Participants will be part of a parent cohort with a success coach. They’ll get assistance finding a childcare option that is certified by the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES).
Because Yavapai County has a scarcity of approved childcare centers, YC’s program offers a practical alternative: “With a background check, a spouse, grandparent or family member can become Department of Economic Security-certified and receive the subsidy,” Fisher said. “This keeps the subsidy within the family, supporting the caregiver as the parent learns.”
Yavapai College will begin the program this fall semester.
This story originally appeared here.