VENTURA, Calif. – On Saturday, March 4, the County of Ventura presented a check for $5 million to CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) in support of the CSUCI Early Childhood Care and Education Center and programs. The Center is intended to support expanded programs in childcare and educational enrichment for pre-school aged children of university students and farmworker families in the community. This expansion is part of a greater initiative by CSUCI to increase local access to childcare in order to support working families during a time in which there is a growing need for increased numbers of early childhood education workers.
“Thanks to the proactive leadership of the late Supervisor Carmen Ramirez, who was a champion for CSUCI and this center, I am pleased to have had the opportunity to support the allocation of these funds alongside my board colleagues,” stated District 5 Supervisor Vianey Lopez. “These funds ensure the County’s ongoing commitment to the development of youth, educational programs, and opportunities for families in our County.”
The $5 million will directly support the construction a state of the art, model Early Childhood Care and Education Center on the CSUCI campus that will utilize the experience and expertise of the doctorate faculty to serve children of the campus community and from surrounding areas throughout Ventura County. The Center will provide high quality services for infants, toddlers, and pre-school aged students, and offer before-school and after-school childcare services and flexible scheduling to accommodate working families. The total project is estimated to cost $39 million and leverages additional funding from the State of California and the University.
“We are excited to support this important initiative that will have a direct and lasting impact, not only on our local workforce, but also on the future of the youngest learners in our community,” said Dr. Sevet Johnson, County Executive Officer. “The benefits of this investment will support local families, students, and reinforce the lasting positive impact that early childhood education can have on lifelong learning.”
Funding for the project at CSUCI is part of the County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, which granted $164 million in recovery pandemic funds to address negative economic impacts and invest in critical infrastructure. The County of Ventura engaged in a yearlong public engagement process, with final approval by the Board of Supervisors, to determine how to utilize these funds to address the most pressing needs that were made apparent during the response to the COVID- 19 pandemic. Investment in early learning and childcare initiatives was one of many areas identified as priorities to support the recovery efforts for the local community.
Photos of the presentation are available at: https://we.tl/t-Mz3EeVZmdZ