The Wisconsin Child Care Business Initiative in Crawford County

On the heels of the successful child care business accelerator program piloted in Green County, Wisconsin, eleven Extension Educators took the program statewide to launch the Wisconsin Child Care Business Initiative.

To initiate this statewide effort, Crawford County Extension Educator, Jessica Jane Spayde, connected with the Wisconsin SBDC to fund a child care business program in Crawford County. After learning the SBDC had time-limited funding specifically for child care businesses, this 1-county class quickly turned into a statewide initiative. With the help of colleagues and partners across the state, Extension coordinated the statewide child care initiative that included free business training and free child care certification courses for hundreds of child care providers and potential entrepreneurs across the state. 

Jessica Jane Spayde stated, “This statewide initiative is a perfect example of what Extension is perfectly situated to accomplish. Because of the local relationships of County-based Extension Educators, we were able to quickly implement business training programs for child care providers across the state. We pulled this off — planning and implementing this statewide program — in about five months because the CARES Act funding that paid for the training was only available until the end of September.”

The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) taught five series of the “Build it Strong: Child Care Business Foundations” course. Wisconsin’s nine regional Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) organizations offered free child care training courses, such as CPR, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Prevention, and Abusive Head Trauma Prevention. Jessica continues, “I am impressed by our amazing partners at WECA, who quickly ramped up their training capacity to offer five series of classes across five months…. [and] In Wisconsin, we have nine regional CCR&Rs, who essentially help providers get licensed and regulated. Our 9 CCR&R organizations enthusiastically jumped on this initiative and were able to offer classes to build the capacity of Wisconsin child care providers.” This program ends at the end of September, and Extension will publish the full evaluation report by the end of 2021. 

Thank you to all of our partners: 

  • Wisconsin Small Business Development Center
  • Wisconsin Early Childhood Association
  • 4-C (Community Coordinated Child Care)
  • The Parenting Place
  • Child Care Partnership
  • Northwest Connection Family Resources
  • Family & Childcare Resources of N.E.W.
  • Childcaring, Inc.
  • Child Care Resource & Referral
  • Family Connections, Inc.
  • 4C for Children
  • Local Economic Development Organizations:
  • Driftless Development INC
  • Sauk County Economic Development Corporation
  • Richland County Economic Development


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