Southern Indiana Gateway, including Dubois County to Focus on childcare
Seven counties in Southern Indiana are working together to better understand the supply and demand of child care within the region. Southern Indiana Gateway (SIG), a21st Century Talent Region, is comprised of six counties: Crawford, Dubois, Orange, Perry, Pike, and Spencer. Knox County is also partnering with these counties on this initiative.
“For Dubois County to continue our growth economically, it is vital to ensure children have access to early learning child care,” said Becky Hickman, Dubois County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “The number of children, according to the State of Indiana who do not have access to child care is absolutely shocking. Local parents have shared that accessibility and affordability concerns are impacting their participation in the workforce and their decisions whether to stay in our community or relocate.
The group has contracted with Transform Consulting Group (TCG)to verify the data. The next step will be to form a diverse multigenerational cross-functional Child Care Coalition that includes parents, child care providers, employers, and other key players to understand the issues and to determine ways to meet these needs.
For many working parents, the lack of child care and the lack of quality child care negatively impacts their daily lives and decisions which affects the productivity of local businesses as well as severely limits our regional growth potential.Child care and education are critical fundamentals in the growth of our community. How we nurture and grow our children determines the future of our county.”
The Southern Indiana Gateway group includes representation from each county’s chamber and their local economic development organization. They have determined that better understanding the regional child care landscape in terms of meeting the needs of working parents is foundational to achieving the goals of the state’s 21st Century Talent Regions program. To do this, the region is partnering with Transform Consulting Group (TCG), a data-informed, strategic consulting firm with extensive experience in the early learning sector, to collect accurate, up-to-date information on the number and types of child care seats available within each county, including the hours in which the seats are available, the quality of the seats, the cost of care, and the length of waiting lists.
With the project officially underway, members of SIG and TCG will be focusing on gathering quantitative data through provider outreach over the next couple of months. The final report, which will also include benchmarking research on successful strategies, data on national and regional trends, and information on the multigenerational impact of high-quality early childhood education, is slated to be published in July. For more information, please feel free to reach out to your respective county’s contact.
- Michael Thissen, Crawford County Economic Development Partnership, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ed Cole, Dubois Strong, email@example.com
- Becky Hickman, Dubois County Chamber of Commerce, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Brenda Stallings, Matrix Integration, email@example.com
- Chris Pfaff, Knox County Economic Development, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jamie Neal, Knox County Chamber of Commerce, email@example.com
- Kristal Painter, Orange County Economic Development Partnership, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Erin Emerson, Perry County Development Corporation, email@example.com
- Wendi Rich, Perry County Chamber of Commerce, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ashley Willis, Pike County Economic Development Corporation, email@example.com
- Jill Hyneman, Pike County Chamber of Commerce, firstname.lastname@example.org