The shortage of child care workers has adversely affected our society.

A reduction in child care options frequently forces parents into difficult decisions — and these burdens fall primarily on women. They often choose not to return to the workforce or take less-demanding (and lower-paying) jobs.

“The pandemic has been hard on parents — and they’re not out of the woods yet, even as most children are back in classrooms after over a year of disrupted learning. Across the country, day care and after-school care programs have been decimated by the pandemic and families are facing months- or even years-long waiting lists,” according to a story published Oct. 8 by “And the child care shortage is particularly dire in rural areas. A big reason, according to New York Times parenting columnist Jessica Grose, who wrote about how different families navigating the challenge, is that it’s hard to hire child care workers in the current labor market because the work is generally low paid.”

To help address this problem in the north country, Jefferson Community College partnered with Jefferson County, Lewis County, the Watertown Small Business Development Center and Community Action Planning Council. They developed the first North Country Regulated Home Day Care Training Boot Camp offered through JCC.

During a ceremony Thursday marking the completion of the first boot camp, college President Ty Stone highlighted the cooperation that went into creating this program.

“There are many reasons why I am so proud of this program,” Stone said, according to a story published Saturday by the Watertown Daily Times. “First, it came together as a result of a collaboration among many partners. This ceremony is proof that we can achieve great things when we work together to address issues of concern in our community.”

The program fills a definite need in Northern New York.

“In the pilot program, participants attended childhood development classes, business workshops and one-on-one mentorships to begin their own home day cares. The program began in June, serving residents from Jefferson and Lewis counties. The eight new entrepreneurs who completed the boot camp were celebrated Thursday night, and they will be enrolled in the college’s Introduction to Early Childhood Development course at no cost this semester,” the article reported. “Compared to only 10 home child care businesses opened in the last three years in Jefferson and Lewis counties, 2021 showed progress, due in part to this home day care training. Two new home-based child care 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. According to Ms. Stone, the program has so far expanded available care by about 60 new child care slots. Participants received support in completing the New York state registration application and approval process, including completing all required health and safety training.”

Another boot camp will be held in March. Those interested in participating should complete a pre-registration form by March 7.

Information sessions are scheduled from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday at JCC’s Building E, Room 117; from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at JCC’s Building E, Room 117; and from 10 to 11 a.m. Feb. 5 at the Lewis County Education Center, Room 1.

Participants also may attend these sessions virtually by Zoom.

The program kick-off meeting will be at 6 p.m. March 8.

We commend everyone involved in creating and operating this program. It’s this kind of collaborative effort that addresses problems and keeps our region strong.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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