Lack of access to affordable, high quality childcare is a major obstacle that keeps parents out of the workforce in Ashland County. However, a new onsite daycare in the Ashland Business Park could help change that. The Women’s Fund Childcare Initiative (through the Ashland County Community Foundation) hopes to expand childcare access to the community, and SJE is proud to be a partner in this mission.
The Childcare Initiative proposes building a new onsite daycare in the Ashland Business Park that will add 131 new childcare spots: 23 infant, 33 toddler, 39 preschool, and 36 school-age. With a current lack of licensed childcare after 6 p.m., the daycare will offer hours of operation to include non-traditional work hours. It will also create over 20 full-time jobs, as well as a boost in construction jobs during the build.
With two Ashland locations, at 221 Ford Drive and 2395 Rock Road, SJE recognizes that this new initiative will benefit both its employees and the community at large. SJE Inc. and the SJE Foundation together have committed $200,000 over five years to this project. During June, this donation will be used as matching dollars for any contributions. SJE will also host a kickoff event at the 221 Ford Drive location.
Tim Bartholomew, operations manager for SJE’s 221 Ford Drive location, is serving on the initiative’s board of directors. His own personal experiences as both a parent and manager involved in hiring new employees informed his decision to join this initiative.
“As more companies come to Ashland and the Ashland Business Park grows, having affordable childcare will also help our city to grow,” Bartholomew said. “Families will be more likely to put roots down here since they can both live and work in the city without having to commute.”
The initiative is hoping to raise $3.5 million for construction and startup, and $1 million for endowment to support ongoing operations, according to the Ashland County Community Foundation’s website, www.ashlandforgood.com. Construction is planned for spring 2023, with a target opening date in the fall of 2023.