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Together with our partners at United Way of the Coastal Empire (UWCE) and Child Care Resource & Referral of Southeast Georgia at Savannah Technical College (CCR&R), the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) is excited to offer the Workforce Initiatives Fund, which will be used to advance targeted workforce solutions with the first use being assisting licensed child care facilities in Chatham County to become Quality Rated through capital improvement mini-grants.

The fund, in the amount of $375,000, was created in direct response to SEDA’s recently released strategic plan, Propel Savannah, which identified the number one concern of local employers as the availability and quality of workforce as well as the need for affordable quality child care centers with flexible schedules. The fund is also a response to Federal and State mandates that require all licensed child care centers to be Quality Rated by December 31, 2020, in order to receive CAPS scholarships for children who require subsidized tuition. These scholarships support children in foster care, children with special needs, and children living in poverty. In addition to enhanced curriculum and professional development standards, there are physical standards that are required to maintain compliance as a licensed child care center and to be Quality Rated.

Having more Quality Rated centers will have both immediate and long-term benefits to the availability and quality of workforce in this region. If child care centers fail to become Quality Rated, Savannah could lose many, much-needed subsidized child care funds and it could have an immediate disruption to families and people’s ability to work.  Long term, it could impact a child’s readiness for the school environment.

Qualified child care providers can apply for mini-grants to cover capital improvements including shelving, flooring, playground surfaces, building repairs and fence repairs, and other improvements that help facilities become Quality Rated.

The Workforce Initiative Fund is a collaboration of Savannah Economic Development Authority, Child Care Resource & Referral of Southeast Georgia at Savannah Technical College, and United Way of the Coastal Empire.

Eligibility requirements for the Workforce Initiatives Fund

  • Must be a licensed child care facility and eligible to become Quality Rated
  • Must be located in Chatham County
  • Must be seeking Quality Rated (those that are already Quality Rated or have submitted their QR portfolio indicating a star rating are not eligible at this time)
  • Must be on caseload with CCR&R receiving technical assistance and training in pursuit of Quality Rated
  • Must have 75% or more of staff enrolled in the Professional Development System (PDS) in Standard 1 before applying
  • Must have Standard 4 complete before applying
  • Must have the Transfer of Learning complete for 50% or more of staff before applying
  • Must either be a current CAPS provider or willing to become a CAPS provider
  • Must be able to provide receipts (proof of purchase) within 60 calendar days of being awarded the grant
  • Must provide an itemized list of improvements and include estimated costs in their application
  • Must return any unspent grant dollars within 60 calendar days following receipt of the funding agreement

Applicant will be notified of grant status within 45 calendar days, following submission.  This grant is contingent on the availability of funds and is subject to change without prior notice.

To begin the grant application process, contact Melissa Cole at [email protected] or 912-443-3016.

To learn more about how you or your business my support this effort through volunteerism, giving, or advocating, please contact Krista Herrig at [email protected] or 912-651-7718.

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