UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR-TV) — In 2016 the city of Utica received a $1.5 million grant through the empire state poverty reduction initiative, which is works to increase economic opportunities for New Yorkers. Over several interviews, town halls, and focus groups, residents were asked what they’d like to see funds used towards.
“The resounding answer from the community was, we need childcare and we need it when we’re working, you know, a second shift. Not everyone works a nine to five shift anymore.” – Erin Gutierrez Matt, CEO, United Way of the Mohawk Valley
The new facility is reliable, affordable and open 24/7 365. This allows working caregivers the opportunity to grow in their employment, get their education, and become higher wage earners.
“Families that have income restraints often have less access to childcare. We know that the black community, at least here in Utica, is disproportionately impacted by less access to childcare. That was definitely the thing that we were marching towards when we were building this but, childcare is a universal issue for working caregivers.” – Erin Gutierrez Matt, CEO, United Way of the Mohawk Valley
The new childcare center is located on the first floor of the DeSales building and will be available for children ages 6 weeks and 12 years old. Ironically, it’s not all about childcare.
“It’s really about workforce development. If we want to enable our community to pursue careers and education advancements, we have to provide the support to let them to that.” – Erin Gutierrez Matt, CEO, United Way of the Mohawk Valley
“I had an individual say I turned down an increase in wages every year Dietra because I have to say no to my employer because I can’t work that second shift. He said that’s my child’s education fund. He said this will give me an opportunity to say yes and that will be a game changer for my family. We’re so happy to be able to deliver that service.” – Dietra Harvey, Utica ESPRI Administrator