Partnership with Early Learning Indiana, United Way opens 500+ additional seats
Governor Mike Pence today announced that capacity-building grants totaling more than $435,000 have been awarded to 40 early learning providers around the state, adding 586 new seats for low-income four year olds in Indiana’s On My Way Pre-K program. Governor Pence joined leaders of the United Way of Central Indiana, Early Learning Indiana and Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning today at Wayne Township Preschool to make the announcement.
“Hoosier children deserve every opportunity to start school ready to learn,” said Governor Pence. “Thanks to the generosity of United Way and Early Learning Indiana, these grants will offer more low-income students the chance to learn and grow in a high-quality pre-K program and will expand the reach of the On My Way Pre-K program.”
Early Learning Indiana committed $150,000 to the On My Way Pre-K grants to increase the number of early learning seats with providers in Allen, Jackson, Lake, and Vanderburgh Counties. This collaboration was made possible through the Partnerships for Early Learners, supported by the Lilly Endowment Inc. United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) committed $100,000 to the grants, also with support from Lilly Endowment. UWCI’s focus was on creating additional seats in a mixed delivery system, including public schools, to increase choices for parents. United Way prioritized high-poverty areas with limited high-quality provider options. The State contributed roughly $185,000 to the effort.
Forty grantees from Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh Counties received a total of $435,382.37. They were chosen from 78 applications received. These grants increase the number of pre-K programs participating in On My Way Pre-K, and the capacity of these participating programs to serve more children. This effort provides increased access to high quality early learning programs and better options for all families. The number of new potential spaces created as a result of these grants is 586, and 402 of those spaces are in areas of highest need, which currently have the lowest access to high-quality preschools.
On My Way Pre-K is the name of Indiana’s first state-funded prekindergarten program, which was established as a five-county pilot by the Indiana General Assembly in 2014. In addition to Allen, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh Counties, which are currently making a program available for about 450 children, Jackson County will join the others and be fully-operational by the fall of 2015. The pilot program is expected to ultimately serve approximately 2,000 students in the five counties and the deadline for families to apply at OnMyWayPreK.org is April 30, 2015.
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