Shortly before the pandemic hit, Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI), a non-profit community development organization in Brunswick, launched the Child Care Business Lab. THe purpose of the program is to boost the local economy by creating jobs for child care workers and helping parents unable to find employment without someone to look after their children. The latter situation is a big problem in Maine, where the number of family-based child care businesses dropped 28% from 2010 to 2016, according to CEI. Half of the first cohort’s 10 entrepreneurs opened for business in time for the school year. More recently, CEI launched a second program, this one focused on Lewiston, a former mill town with a large population of refugees from Somalia and other African countries. That cohort has the same objective as the first one: helping Maine residents who love children, but lack the business experience needed to start an enterprise in an industry with complex state requirements. The program has $1.7 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. #childcare #workforce #Maine
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