Pilot Program Helps with Child Care For Area Hotel Workers

Workers at hotels in northwest Michigan will find it easier to get affordable child care thanks to Traverse City Tourism‘s participation in a regional pilot program.

Under the program the cost of child care will be split between a grant from the State of Michigan, Traverse City Tourism on behalf of hotel employers, and the parent. The MI Tri-Share Child Care Pilot Program was announced earlier this year with funding approved by the Michigan legislature and announced by Governor Whitmer. Funding for the program is slated to run through next July but could be extended into 2023 under current budget negotiations in the legislature.

“We’re working hard to eliminate barriers that keep people away from working in hospitality,” said Traverse City Tourism President Trevor Tkach (Tah-koch). “Our lodging members need employees, and many of those employees depend on good, affordable child care. This will help our members to attract and retain qualified workers.”

The Tri-Share Program is administered through United Way of Northwest Michigan in partnership with employers based in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau Counties.

Once a participant is approved, payments are made directly to the child care provider. To qualify, parents must have household income between 150 to 250-percent of federal poverty guidelines. For example, a family of four would have a household income between $39,750 to $66,250 to qualify. The parent must work over 25-hours a week at participating hotel properties.

While the program does not address the availability of child care options in the region, the parent will work with an advisor who can help identify child care openings.

“As a parent myself, I know you can’t concentrate on your job if you are concerned about the safety of your children,” said Tkach. “Our hope is this program gives yet another reason for workers to see the value of being part of the northwest Michigan hospitality industry.”

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