TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Tourism has signed on to a regional pilot program that aims to split the cost of workers’ child care between the parent, Traverse City Tourism on behalf of hotel employers, and the State of Michigan.

The MI Tri-Share Child Care Pilot Program was announced earlier this year. Funding was approved by the Michigan legislature and announced by Governor Whitmer. Funding for the program is slated to run through next July, but could be extended into 2023 under current budget negotiations in the legislature.

“We’re working hard to eliminate barriers that keep people away from working in hospitality,” Traverse City Tourism President Trevor Tkach said in a release. “Our lodging members need employees, and many of those employees depend on good, affordable child care. This will help our members to attract and retain qualified workers.”

The Tri-Share Program is administered through United Way of Northwest Michigan in partnership with employers based in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau Counties.

Once a participant is approved, payments will be made directly to the child care provider. To qualify, parents must have household income between 150 and 250 percent of federal poverty guidelines. For example, a family of four would have a household income between $39,750 to $66,250 to qualify. The parent must work more than 25 hours a week at participating hotel properties.

While the program does not address the availability of child care options in the region, parent will work with advisers who can help identify child care openings.

“As a parent myself, I know you can’t concentrate on your job if you are concerned about the safety of your children,” said Tkach. “Our hope is this program gives yet another reason for workers to see the value of being part of the northwest Michigan hospitality industry.”

More information is available at https://5toone.org/Connect/ChildCarePilotProgram.

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