Early care and education providers receive funding from the TRAC program – Muncie Journal

By Michelle Kinsey—

MUNCIE, IN – The Training, Resource, & Advocacy Connector (TRAC) has awarded more than $210,000 to early care and education (ECL) providers in eight East Central Indiana counties.

This is the first time TRAC has offered this opportunity for ECL providers to apply for funding as part of its regional operations support efforts.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response to our Regional Activity Support (RAS) program, which reflects the vibrant engagement and dedication in our communities,” said Lucinda Stipp, TRAC program coordinator. “While selecting the final candidates was a challenging task, it fills us with excitement to endorse and support so many deserving projects.”

TRAC was founded in 2023 under the East Central Indiana Talent Collaborative (ECITC), operating out of the Office of Community Engagement at Ball State University. TRAC covers Delaware, Blackford, Grant, Jay, Randolph, Wayne, Henry, Rush and Fayette counties.

ECITC encourages local governments, businesses, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and economic and workforce development partners to take a regional approach to create a better quality workplace, develop and improve the workforce, and ECI talent connect with companies that want to meet high demand. , high-paying jobs.

ECITC’s Regional Birth-5 Coalition developed TRAC to provide training and resources to current ECL providers, encourage individuals to enter ECL professions, and communicate and advocate the importance of ECL to employers, funders, and national and local decision makers.

TRAC is led by program manager Jeri McCorkle, who has decades of experience in education and is an outspoken advocate for early care and learning.

“We will build a strong foundation that uses East Central Indiana – and sees Indiana as a model – to advance early care and education, the professional workforce, communities and economic development,” she said of the program.

Funding for the RAS awards and the TRAC program is provided by the READI 1.0 ECI award, awarded in 2021 to the East Central Indiana Regional Partnership.

“Little Stars Learning Academy is so excited to receive the 2024 Regional Activity Support Award through TRAC,” said Kristen Hass, owner of Little Stars Learning Academy in Rushville. “Because we are a LLEP (Legally Licensed Exempt Provider), we are generally not eligible for rewards. However, thanks to TRAC, this award allows us to offer our students STEM activities in a safe outdoor environment.”

Recipients of Regional Activity Support Grants for 2024:

Bev’s Kindergarten Prep and ChildcareStraughn – Experiential Program

Country Childcare 1, Straughn – Country Kids 1 Curriculum and Staff Training

Country Kids 2 Daycare Baby & ToddlerStraughn – Country Kids 2 Curriculum and Staff Training

GT childrenMuncie – Supporting and improving the classroom environment

Happy Days ChildcareRushville – Towards quality for happy days

HazelwoodMuncie – The Right TRAC Program

Helen Lieber Academy for Early LearningHartford City – Playground Expansion Project

Kiddin’ Around DaycareNew Castle – Experiential Program

Little Star Learning AcademyRushville – Outdoor learning spaces

Little toddlers in daycareNew Castle – Experiential Program

Mrs. Christina’s Childcare, Upland – Childcare renovations class II

Monroe Central School CorporationParker City–Monroe Central Preschool

Oak Park Academy for Early LearningRichmond – Project STEAM

Daycare and preschool in Old RichmondRichmond – Early Childhood Education/Kindergarten Preparation

Randolph Central School CorporationWinchester – Expanding Early Childhood Education (Launch of Quality Level 3 Nursery Class)

Randolph County YMCAWinchester – Learning Environment

River of lifeMuncie – Readiness Program for Preschoolers

Rush County REC Center ChildcareRushville – REC Childcare Center

United Way of Jay CountyPortland – Coalition Connections and Collaboration for Young Children

Westminster Kindergarten, Marion – Expansion of the toddler classroom

Childcare BosMuncie – Expansion of the Woodside Child Care Home

YMCAMuncie – YMCA of Muncie Early Childhood Education Nature Experience

Michelle Kinsey is communications manager in the Office of Community Engagement at Ball State.