Congressman Raúl Grijalva said access to affordable childcare has prevented parents, specifically mothers, from pursuing higher education.
“The principal obstacle, and followed by transportation, has been daycare,” said Grijalva.
Grijalva helped secure nearly $285,377 in federal funding for the center.
“That’s the investment in children, and the investment in their parents, primarily women, to be able to move forward in their lives,” said Grijalva.
The PCC Early Learning Center will serve student parents with 3-5 year olds whose families make up to double the federal poverty level.
His hope is for this initial investment to serve as a model, and that the program will grow.
“It will grow to each campus, and I think that’s why it’s important, because you are breaking a barrier,” said Grijalva.
Pima Community College is experiencing a surge in enrollment for the fall semester, seeing an increase for the first time since the pandemic. Enrollment increased by 10 percent for the fall term.
PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert said opportunities like these are encouraging students to come back.
“Our working learners want more flexibility, they want more convenience, and we’re stepping up to answer the call,” said Lambert.
Lambert said this program is building the foundation for future generations. “It starts with the parent, the mother, the father, and that young child, and as they’re developing especially through those first few critical years of their life, to be able to be in their atmosphere that encourages their growth and development, really sets them up for long term success,” he said.
Staff at the center hope it will be fully licensed mid-September to begin enrollment.
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