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A community-centered solution to Emmet County's child care shortage

The undersupply of child care in rural Northern Michigan is a systemic issue that impacts parents, prospective parents, local employers and child care providers alike. America's child care system, long devalued, is underfunded and now unsustainable in Emmet County and nationwide — yet we know that quality, affordable, reliable child care is essential for the economic stability of all families.

Launched in 2022 with support from the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, the Frey Foundation, and the NCMC Foundation, North Central's Child Care Initiative (CCI) is leading the development of a community-centered plan for a sustainable, viable local child care system in Emmet County, Michigan.

Our Vision: A high-quality, accessible early care and education system that is supported through community connections

You can make a difference in our community!

By supporting NCMC's Child Care Initiative (CCI), your contribution will help create sustainable and equitable access to child care, which relies on a qualified workforce earning a living wage.

Make a Donation Now

A Phased Approach to Stabilization, Sustainability

An Action Team is formed, comprised of NCMC Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator Jennifer Wixson, a research program coordinator and a data analyst.

Community input collected from surveys, focus groups and interviews informs a proposed set of evidence- and community-based innovations that address the following impact areas.

5 Impact Areas:

    1. Affordability of care
    2. Accessibility of care
    3. Capacity of the local child care network
    4. Workforce opportunities and increased wages for new/existing child care workers
    5. Quality of care for all children

Planning, research and outreach work is conducted to thoroughly vet the proposed innovations for potential impact and feasibility, and to assure alignment and optimal phasing across each. Innovations that address two or more of the impacts listed above will be prioritized, along with innovations that can be managed and financially maintained long-term.

Phase II consists of the implementation and evaluation of the local innovations identified in Phase I.

Phase III of the initiative is the long-term, sustainability plan: the creation of the Center for Innovations in Early Care and Education, housed at NCMC. The Center for Innovations in Early Care and Education will provide the mechanism for scaling-out and scaling-up the local innovations to other communities in our region and throughout the state. These innovations will serve as models of success, examples of quality solutions, and evidence that local, community-based solutions are the most sustainable. The Center for Innovations also has the potential to serve as the facilitator for the many initiatives and solutions that the community pursues.


Upcoming Events


Recurring Events

NCMC Playgroup

NCMC Playgroup meets in the ECE Building on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10—11:30 a.m. through May 2, with the exception of Spring Break (March 25—29). Children ages 0–5 and their caregivers are invited to attend.

NCMC Song & Story Hour

Children of all ages and their caregivers are invited to experience Friday mornings full of songs, stories, and a themed activity! Join us on Fridays from 10—11 a.m. in the NCMC Library for:

72%of Emmet County employers
say their employees struggle to find child care.
1 in 3Emmet County families
spends more than $1,000 per month on child care.
53%of Emmet County child care employees
worry their income won't cover their monthly bills.
child stacking blocks

Final Report

North Central Michigan College Innovation Access and Impact Analysis

Our analysis allowed us to generate key learnings across three themes – time, supports, and funding – that we believe can inform efforts to fortify the child care industry in Emmet County and statewide.

See the Report

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Phase I Data Report

Surveying Emmet County's Child Care Landscape

We held focus groups and collected survey responses from 96 business leaders, 271 parents and prospective parents, and 25 child care providers who live or work in Emmet County.

See The Report

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Catalog of Child Care Business Innovations, Resources & Tools

A Living Resource For Child Care Professionals

We designed this compilation to assist child care professionals with finding support related to enrollment, facilities, revenue, staffing, quality/advocacy/data, and general business operations.

Browse The Catalog

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Quarterly Newsletter

For The Latest CCI Updates

Stay up to date on the latest news and events related to NCMC's Child Care Initiative.

Read Our Newsletter


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