EPIC has a powerful voice and is grateful to engage in opportunities to strengthen initiatives, funding, and programs for the child care ecosystem in Colorado and promote idea generation nationally. Here are a few things we’ve been working on to bring access and quality early care and education to all children and families.
Assistant Secretary Visit
EPIC was honored to host a very special roundtable with Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF Administration for Children and Families), January Contreras, in August at Guild Education. EPIC members and partners had the opportunity to discuss public-private partnership efforts with the Assistant Secretary, as well as share EPIC’s work to bridge the gap between the business community and early childhood.
2022 Hunt Institute Early Childhood Leadership Summit
Nicole Riehl, was invited to The Hunt Institute’s 2022 Early Childhood Leadership Summit as a panelist with Barry Ford from Council for a Strong America and Jack McBride from Contec, Inc. They discussed the business case for early child care support and positive outcomes that come with fiscal support. The Summit is a national event, which hosts governors, lieutenant governors, legislators, and state leaders to discuss current challenges and opportunities in early childhood education, supporting child care for infants and toddlers, building a stronger early learning workforce, and the state of the American child care industry. EPIC was honored to participate, share the work we are doing, and learn from other experts across the country.
Building Up: Child Care Insights and Opportunities for Action
EPIC’s Building Up retreat brought together business leaders, community organizations, and early child care experts and advocates to share insights and pinpoint opportunities for action. Participants helped select the most impactful elements for our exciting new tool in development, EPIC’s Child Care Map. We envision this tool as support for emerging and existing providers, along with community partners and child care advocates. The event featured high-impact strategies to support and improve child care access and sustainability, highlighting opportunities for increased access to capital, access to low-cost or free real estate, and strategies for operational sustainability. The event included a panel round table that included the leading industry voices of Dr. Lisa Roy, Colorado Department of Early Childhood; Dave Rogers, Government, and Public Services; Debra Locke, Second Family Child Care; Whisper Mondragon, Unique Play Place; Nim Patel, Colorado Enterprise Fund; and Jeanne McQueeney, Eagle Couty Commissioner. Finally, we looked at policy and regulatory reform opportunities to remove barriers to entry and develop key support across Colorado’s provider network. This insightful discussion will help us develop our 2023 advocacy and action plans. Thank you to our friends at Mile High United Way for hosting our Building Up retreat!
EPIC in front of the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation
On September 27, Nicole Riehl had the opportunity to serve on a panel for child care in the Centennial State, hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Facilitated by Sasha Caputo, Senior Coordinator of the US CCF, Nicole was joined on the panel by Anne Lance of Teaching Tree to discuss Colorado’s leadership and progress in early childhood education, and the role of federal funding in critical data and development initiatives in Colorado and nationwide.
EPIC represents Statewide Initiatives
Alethea Gomez, Director of Programs and Initiatives, attended the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver, alongside Dr. Lisa Roy, Rep. Emily Sirota, Dr. Jennifer Stedron of Early Milestones, Tom Massey of CO Dept. Of Healthcare Policy and Financing, Dawn Odean of the CDEC (Colorado Department of Early Childhood) and representatives from 19 states to discuss the economic imperative of child care, impact on the workforce and the opportunity that exists for employers and creative community partnerships to invest in and advocate for child care development and sustainability.
Design Lab participation on a National Level
Alethea traveled to Minnesota to speak at First Childrens Finance ECE Business Collaboratory about EPIC’s Employer-Based Childcare Design Lab and participate in discussions and presentations from states across the nation innovating in child care legislation and investments, including Colorado state partners Angela Ben-Zekry and Bonnie Rouse-Caputo.