Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne and Warsaw was awarded a grant worth $407,300 for investment in childcare program directors across Northeast Indiana. The grant was awarded by Early Learning Indiana and was funded by their $31 million Early Years Initiative. Funds were determined through a statewide competition, and the college is one of 15 organizations in the region awarded.

“Northeast Indiana is experiencing rapid growth in building the supply and access to high quality programs in each of our 11 counties,” said Doug Clark, an Ivy Tech Fort Wayne faculty member and the Dekko Foundation Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy. “This means added demands will be placed on center directors and childcare business owners to implement effective programs that benefit the children and families in their care while leading healthy organizations that attract and reward high-performing employees.”

These new challenges set the stage for the innovative leader development initiative at the heart of Ivy Tech’s grant proposal. Created in collaboration with the Northeast Indiana Regional Early Childhood Coalition, the project will engage local childcare directors representing infant-toddler programs that serve low-income households, communities of color, and multi-language learners across the region.

The project is expected to run over a 30-month span from January 2024 to June 2026. Participants will connect with peers and hear from national presenters, local experts, and leadership coaches. Additionally, the training agenda will feature specialized sessions on infant mental health and topics that are applicable to select Ivy Tech courses for optional enrollment by program completers. Information about the eligibility requirements, process, and timeline will be announced in October.

According to Clark, the goal of the initiative is to “serve early childhood programs and the Regional Coalition as a whole to build capacity from the inside out, first through advances in personal leadership, then for leading their teams, and ultimately by leading other leaders.”

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.