MILWAUKEE – Parents continue to struggle to find affordable, high-quality child care due to high costs, staffing shortages and closures. A new effort is underway to change this.
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Medical College of Wisconsin and Royal Capital have come together for the Thriveon collaboration.
“We are really trying to invest in expanding access to high quality early childhood education centers,” said Katherine Dunn. “Advancing our commitment to racial equity and inclusion and addressing neighborhoods that have been disinvested.”
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Part of the effort will invest at least $5 million in child care and early education providers. This includes the expansion of the Malaika Early Learning Center into a renovated flagship centre. It’s not just what the building will entail, but the location that’s vital.
“We know we have families in our communities who need it more than others,” said Chief Executive Tamara Johnson.
Rendering of the expanded Malaika Early Learning Center
Johnson said it would be a cornerstone of the intellect, health and well-being of residents of Milwaukee‘s Harambee, Brewers Hill and Halyard Park neighborhoods.
“It lays the foundation for not only academic success in their school career, but also in life – just the life skills period,” she said.
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Child care providers say this is a long overdue effort.
“When I’ve seen over the last 25 years of my career, families have to choose between high quality care and buying food or high quality care and paying rent,” Johnson said.
Malaika Early Learning Center
Organizers hope the calculations will contribute to a long-term solution for families.
“It’s not just about a center, it’s about what we do for everyone in the community,” Johnson said.
The new center will offer subsidized care and private payment options for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years. Other areas of this repurposed building will have programs such as Workforce Development and Health and Fitness Providers.