The Central Oregon Childcare Steering Committee, Better Together and the Early Learning Hub of Central Oregon are pleased to announce the release of a Request for Qualifications to identify a Nexus (“hub”) organization to grow and support a network of Micro-Center childcare locations across the region. Supported by a regional group of partners, we are seeking a creative, professional and committed partner to expand childcare options to Central Oregon families and businesses.
The economic fallout of COVID-19 in Central Oregon has greatly exacerbated an already critical situation, with a 25 percent closure of existing childcare facilities due to the inability to stay financially afloat and still only serving a third of total capacity. “This has left thousands of children, families and employers wondering what to do as they reopen for business,” says Katy Brooks, CEO and president of the Bend Chamber of Commerce.
The pilot concept presented by the Steering Committee will create a network of single classroom locations in existing spaces, which could include in office buildings, home childcare settings, community or education facilities, hospitals and more. “Partnerships with host sites and employers will assist in bringing down overhead costs and ensure enrollment,” states Brenda Comini, director of The Early Learning Hub of Central Oregon.
The various micro-center locations are facilitated by a Nexus organization that will coordinate staff, recruitment and enrollment, HR benefits, business management, fundraising and quality care. “The Steering Committee is issuing the RFQ to find a partner agency that aligns closely with the mission of the pilot to provide more quality, affordable and accessible childcare spots to all Central Oregonians,” says Megan Norris, Central Oregon childcare accelerator.
The RFQ was released on September 23, with responses due by October 15 and the first locations being launched in December.