For the first time in Dodge City, a child care provider seminar has been scheduled to address the shortage of licensed child care providers in the city from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, at the University/Training Center in Hennessey Hall.


According to special projects coordinator Mollea Wainscott, "Steps to Become a Child Care Provider" has been made possible through a partnership with the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation, Dodge City Community College, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce, Child Care Aware and Bright Beginnings to host the free class on how to become a licensed child care provider. The seminar's goal is to provide information to those interested in opening a licensed day care.


"The Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation formed a Child Care Committee in January 2020 after having a discussion with our business partners on the impact lack of child care has on their businesses," Wainscott said. "The committee is comprised of individuals from the Chamber of Commerce, USD 443, Dodge City Community College, Child Care Aware, Russell Child Development Center and Kansas Department of Health and Environment."


Not having access to reliable child care creates a variety of struggles for many families, which could lead to working fewer hours, taking a pay cut or leaving the workforce altogether.


Meanwhile, businesses are losing productivity and revenue.


According to Wainscott, Ford County has 40 infants/toddlers waiting for every one slot that is available.


Speakers will be on hand at the seminar to address state requirements, early childhood education degrees programs and the other resources available for child care providers.


"The committee is focusing on identifying barriers that prevent people from opening a licensed home daycare and providing solutions to those barriers," Wainscott said. "We felt the first step would be to host a free class to provide basic information to the public on how to become a licensed child care provider.


"The class was scheduled for May but postponed due to COVID-19."


To register online for the seminar visit, www.raisingthewest.org/training-events.


For more information, contact Kyla Keller with the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation at 620-227-9501 or email at kkeller@dodgedev.org.


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.