WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Jefferson Community College is celebrating the results of its first Childcare Bootcamp in an effort to support childcare resources in the North Country.

The pilot program began in June of 2021 and served 20 residents from Jefferson and Lewis Counties. The new entrepreneurs will be recognized for their achievement on January 6. They will be enrolled in the College’s Introduction to Early Childhood Development course at no cost, which will be completed in May of 2022.

According to a press release from JCC, the inspiration for the program came from a need for more childcare in the area which was expressed by Lewis County officials. Jefferson County soon expressed similar needs, and both counties were able to secure funding for the program.

Students in the program participated in a series of early childhood development and small business workshops and benefitted from one-on-one mentorship. The students received support in completing the New York State registration application and approval process, including completing all required health and safety training. 

Director of the Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project at CAPC Cathy Brodeur said that the program was an important factor in ensuring the community has access to quality childcare.

“The Bootcamp program has allowed us to begin rebuilding childcare capacity after years of declining options. Our community’s ability to support children, families, and employers with high-quality care in the community reflects the willingness of cross-sector partners to innovate,” Bordeur said.

“Economic development, entrepreneurship skills, and early childhood expertise are all critical to the success of this program, and the creation of new Licensed and Registered slots in a short period of time has been a game-changer for families returning to work.”

According to JCC, two new home-based childcare businesses in Lewis County and 10 in Jefferson County have opened in 2021.  JCC expects this number will grow as the remaining pilot program participants open their new businesses, with three more pending at this time.

Another Regulated Home Day Care Training Bootcamp will begin in March of 2022. Additional information on the training and more can be found on the Jefferson Community College website.