The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Joliet Junior College $89,769 in grant funding to assist 20 low-income student-parents with child care expenses.
The amount is for fiscal 2018, and is anticipated to be distributed each year over a four-year period. Funding comes through the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS), which was approved by Congress in March as part of a broader spending package.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, announced on June 6 that the Joliet community will benefit from the funding.
Using a sliding fee scale, the grant will cover up to $100 in weekly child care costs for eligible students. In addition to offering quality, affordable child care, the grant aims to increase the number of low-income parents who enroll in credit classes and boost their academic success.
The grant also funds a new recruitment and parent support specialist position. This person will serve as a resource for these parents, helping to facilitate and encourage student-parent participation in the educational development of their children, and planning and implementing volunteer opportunities and parenting workshops.
They will also be responsible for implementing a comprehensive recruitment strategy to enroll low-income, Pell-eligible student-parents.
JJC’s Main Campus houses the Early Childhood Center, which provides learning and social experiences, safety and guidance for children ages 3 to 5. Last month, the facility was awarded the Gold Circle of Quality by ExcelRate Illinois.
The distinction goes to programs that have met the highest quality standards in learning environment and teaching quality, administrative standards, and training and education.
In addition, JJC also benefits by strengthening and expanding partnerships within the industry and the community, such as with the Academy Network Teams for Joliet Townships High Schools, All Our Kids, the local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency, and the Joliet Area Association for the Education of Young Children.
JJC student-parents have previously benefited from the CCAMPIS grant, which the college was awarded from 2009-12. At that time, more than half of the JJC student-parents supported through the grant reported that they would have been unable to enroll or continue taking classes at the college without CCAMPIS assistance.