An innovative child care business training program launched this September at the Lane Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in partnership with local Child Care Resource and Referral agency, Quality Care Connections (QCC). This free program is made possible by funding and support from Lane Community College, JTMF Foundation, and City of Eugene, and is aimed at addressing the lack of child care in the region.
“Right now, our region is only able to accommodate one child care opening for every four children under age five,” said Dan Collins, director of the SBDC. “And this accelerator training program is taking a much-needed step to address that need.”
The Early Child Care Business Accelerator Program is a four-month program that focuses on providing the skills and knowledge to become registered or certified home-based child care providers. Quality Care Connections provides safety and quality improvement training and licensing support for providers to become licensed with the Department of Early Learning and Care. A Licensed Registered Family provider can have up to 10 children in their home, and a Certified Family Provider can have up to 14 or 16 children in their home. The SBDC is providing business training and support so that early educators have the skills necessary to become a successful small business owner.
Between 1999 and 2020, Oregon lost 32,000 slots in small family child care homes, according to the latest report from Oregon State University.
Currently, all but one of Oregon’s 36 counties are considered “child care deserts” for infants and toddlers, defined as a community with more than three children for every regulated child care slot. Half of all counties have the same shortage of access for preschool-aged children.
“The curriculum supports growing a high-quality, licensed child care program, taught by specialists at QCC, with business topics covered by SBDC instructors,” explained Cheryl Henderson, director of child and family education at LCC.
Students are assigned an SBDC business advisor and licensed graduates receive $5,000 to start their business, as well as continued wrap-around services from both QCC and the SBDC after the program.
“We are thrilled to bring this innovative program from Deschutes to Lane County. It’s proven successful in Central Oregon and we’re eager to see those results in our local communities,” said Child Care Sector Strategist, Holly Mar-Conte.
Depending on funding availability, additional cohorts will begin in 2024, including a Spanish-speaking cohort.
For more information about the program and becoming a child care provider, contact Quality Care Connections at email@example.com or 541-463-3954.
For more information on the Early Child Care Business Accelerator program, contact Dan Collins, director of the Lane Small Business Development Center, at 541-463-6206 or Cheryl Henderson, director of child and family education at Lane Community College, at 541-463-3954.