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Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC) recently selected Ottawa Area ISD as a Regional Child Care Planning Grant awardee. OAISD will receive a $150,000 grant to expand child care options to serve more families and lower costs for parents.
OAISD was one of 16 Regional Child Care Planning Grant recipients statewide and is joined by United Way of the Lakeshore and The Right Place, Inc. & Vibrant Futures in MEDC Region 4.
Tami Mannes Ph.D., Director of Early Childhood Services for Ottawa Area ISD, said the Regional Child Care Planning Grant will support planning in both Ottawa and Allegan counties. “This grant allows us to look at the current successes, challenges and barriers to families accessing high-quality childcare for their children,” Mannes said. “We will work with community stakeholders across both counties to meet family childcare needs.”
The state of Michigan is investing $100 million to increase access to childcare across the state and hopes to open 1,000 new or expanded child care programs by the end of 2024.
Lindsay Sichta M. Ed., Director of Early Childhood Services for Allegan Area ESA, said families need access to affordable, high-quality child care that meets their individual needs and their work schedules. “Allegan Area ESA is excited to team up with Ottawa Area ISD and local business and community partners to explore available options to expand child care in the area.”
“This type of funding is a win-win for our residents and employers,” said Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage president. “Access to affordable childcare allows parents to rejoin the workforce and meets the growing employer demand for talent.”
For more information, contact Michelle Ready at 616.738-8940 x. 4093 mready@oaisd.org
About Lakeshore Advantage
Lakeshore Advantage is a non-profit economic development organization started in 2003 by forward-focused business and community leaders to ensure current and future generations want to live and work in a vibrant lakeshore economy. Lakeshore Advantage assists primary employers—from startups to established global corporations—in West Michigan’s Allegan and Ottawa counties.
In 2022, Lakeshore Advantage supported 33 business growth projects consisting of $2.38 billion invested by local companies and $436.3 million in support funds leveraged in the two counties. Business growth projects resulted in 3,352 new and retained jobs to the area. In
addition, Lakeshore Advantage provided economic support to 302 primary employers and 63 startup companies in the two counties. More at www.lakeshoreadvantage.com.

About Allegan Area ESA
As an educational service agency, the Allegan Area ESA collaborates with our local districts to support their mission to provide excellent educational opportunities to all students. We provide numerous services that are too expansive or cost prohibitive for local districts to provide on their own. Each day we strive to ensure every learner, school, and community thrives.
About Ottawa Area ISD
Ottawa Area Intermediate School District works collaboratively with schools and communities to meet the educational needs of students of all ages in the Ottawa area. By pooling resources and providing services regionally, OAISD provides important programs and services to local K‐12 school districts, charter, parochial and private schools and adults in the most cost‐effective ways possible. www.oaisd.org