FSSA and Indiana Chamber Announce a $25 Million Fund for Employers to Address Childcare Needs

By Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance | | 11.7.23

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration's Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL) has unveiled the Employer-Sponsored Child Care Fund, a new initiative as part of Governor Eric Holcomb's 2023 Next Level Agenda. This program is set to transform the landscape of childcare benefits and support the needs of working Hoosier families.

Governor Holcomb emphasized in a public announcement that employers, with their in-depth knowledge of their employees' essential needs, are in the prime position to partner with their communities to devise childcare solutions that contribute to the growth and retention of their workforce.

"This targeted grant program will boost Indiana's economy and, most importantly, empower the state's youngest learners with the tools they need to be successful in the years to come,” stated Governor Holcomb.

The Employer-Sponsored Child Care Fund, backed by a substantial $25 million investment, is the product of a partnership with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and leverages a portion of the state's remaining federal relief funds from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It aligns with Aspire’s broader efforts in the State Legislature to strengthen the early care and education sector, offering vital support for today's workforce while investing in the future.

“Aspire understands how important access to quality, affordable childcare is to employers and their staff,” said Patricia Moon, Economic Development Specialist at Aspire. “In fact, Aspire has been lobbying to get our business community the support it needs to boost childcare benefits for their workforce.”

Employers in Indiana will have the opportunity to tap into this grant program to create or expand a range of childcare benefits and programs for their workforce.

These benefits may include sponsoring dependent care assistance plans, providing on-site or near-site childcare facilities, or offering childcare tuition benefits. Grants of up to $750,000 will be awarded, and details on eligibility and permitted uses can be found on the FSSA website.

"Families will benefit from more convenient childcare options in their communities, giving children the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop alongside their peers," said Courtney Penn, OECOSL Director. "This grant will give parents more opportunities to learn, grow, and develop in their careers as well."

To be eligible for this opportunity, employers must be based in Indiana and qualify as either a business or corporation employing 20 or more employees, a group of employers with 20 or more employees, or a community-based nonprofit applying on behalf of a group of local employers with a combined total of 20 or more employees.

Employers must also be willing to contribute 10% of the total amount requested and commit to implementing solutions within the first year of the program.

This initiative is poised to make a significant impact on the lives of working Hoosiers, providing a brighter future for both children and their working parents.

Aspire supports the State of Indiana and all partners involved in this vital endeavor and encourages eligible employers to explore this opportunity to create a more supportive and thriving workforce for the state.

Applications are now being accepted and will remain open until November 22. For more information and to access the application, visit the program's website, which can be found at www.in.gov/fssa.