UTICA, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV)- One year ago, the doors opened to Academics First, the region’s first and only licensed extended-day childcare center. Now, with a grant of almost $490 thousand dollars, they are looking to expand their hours even more.
“Let’s go back a few years to 2016 when our governor decided he wanted to give communities an opportunity to look at poverty in a unique way.” – Dietra Harvey, Utica ESPRI Administrator
Governor Cuomo announced ESPRI, Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, Utica was one of eleven cities rewarded.
United Way of the Mohawk Valley was chosen to lead this effort locally, as an expert in identifying and solving our community’s most pressing challenges. After hundreds of focus groups, meetings, and conversations with those struggling to overcome poverty, alongside collaborations with local government and leaders, five priorities were identified, one of the top is safe and reliable childcare beyond the typical Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm workday.
12 million dollars was allocated for Utica’s prosperity initiative, to transform the community and enhance the quality of life. From the allocated funds, $488, 188 dollars will go toward childcare extension.
“So with the new city funding we are able to move forward, extending our hours to 9pm Monday through Friday and we’d like to also include Saturday and Sunday 6am to 6pm.”
As of now the infant and toddler room has a waitlist but with the extended hours they’re hoping to have more evening and weekend availability.