Imagine U provides steps to help eliminate lack of local childcare

A new mentorship program in Grays Harbor looks to assist with the current local child-care crisis.

Greater Grays Harbor Inc. announced the state-approved 10-month long program designed to help new family child care providers meet licensing requirements, pay startup costs, and launch a business

Anyone looking to start an in-home child care provider business is encouraged to apply, and applications are currently being accepted.

“This innovative program has the potential to greatly increase the availability of child care in Grays Harbor. The recent addition of new businesses and employees to the area over the past few years, coupled with several other factors, has placed us in a severe child care predicament,” said Dru Garson, CEO of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. “This mentorship program can present us with a great opportunity to train a significant number of new child care providers within Grays Harbor.”

The program, called Imagine U, is sponsored by The Imagine Institute, “Imagine U is a new relationship-based mentorship program designed to increase the number of licensed family child care providers who can care for children in Washington State. Imagine U pairs experienced and talented licensed child care providers with those interested in becoming licensed, and offers both the mentor and intern supports to help them grow professionally.”

Montesano child care provider and Imagine U mentor Tracy Dawson said;

“We have a child care problem in Grays Harbor. Child care providers hear stories of parents unable to return to work, foster parents unable to care for foster children, and employers struggling to fill vacancies or make shifts due to lack of child care. We average double-digit waiting lists.”

Dawson continued, “Coaching, on-the-job training, technical assistance, and roughly $9,000 in stipends will help each new provider start their business. This program will go a long way to increase access to high-quality child care in our community.”

Individuals can apply and learn more at or contact local mentor-coordinator Tracy Dawson at or (360) 249-8058.


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