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U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva and Tucson’s Top Hispanic Leaders to Visit Pima Community College’s New Early Learning Center

TUCSON, AZ – On Tuesday, August 30, U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva and Tucson’s top Hispanic leaders will visit Pima Community College’s new Early Learning Center, which will open during the fall semester. The Center will offer PCC students free childcare for those who meet the program requirements with help, in part, from stipends from a “Child Care Access Means Parents in School” (CCAMPIS) grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Rep. Grijalva helped support and secure $285,377 in CCAMPIS federal funding for the Early Learning Center for Fiscal Year 21-22 to support the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education through the provision of campus-based childcare services. 

When:           Tuesday, August 30, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Where:          PCC Desert Vista Campus, 5901 S. Calle Santa Cruz, Tucson, AZ

                     Playground located east of the Plaza Building

Who:             U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva; Pima County Supervisor Adelita Grijalva;
                     Lane Santa Cruz, Tucson City Council; State Representative Andres
                     Cano; Catherine Ripley, PCC Board Chair; and Demion Clinco, PCC Board Vice-Chair

The PCC Early Learning Center is a partnership between PCC, Child-Parent Centers (CPC), Pima County’s Pima Early Education Program Scholarships (PEEPS), and the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona (UWTSA.)

The Center offers an on-campus high-quality childcare center modeled on the educational requirements of the federal Head Start program; free childcare for those who meet the program requirements; and will connect student-parents to wrap-around services both on and off campus.

The Center will serve PCC students with children ages 3 to 5, with a priority to serve 4-year-olds, and will serve student parents who have family incomes up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The program will be offered to children five days a week, from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

“This community partnership and early learning center will prepare kids from low-income and working families for their future education while their parents break down economic barriers as they work to achieve a higher education,” said Rep. Grijalva. “In Arizona, we know that quality and affordable childcare is a huge constraint for parents, which makes this program a win-win for Arizona families. I am proud to support federal programs that provide direct opportunities for Arizona families to better themselves, and I can think of no greater recipient for this grant than Pima Community College.”

“Pima Community College is proud to invest in the future of our region’s children through the PCC Early Childcare Center,” said PCC Governing Board Chair Catherine Ripley. “This initiative removes a huge economic barrier for our student-parents, who can concentrate on their PCC education knowing their child is safe and cared for.” 

The PCC Early Learning Center will utilize financial assistance from Pima County’s Pima Early Education Program, as well as stipends from a “Child Care Access Means Parents in School” (CCAMPIS) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, so that families meeting the income eligibility requirements will not have to pay for their children to attend.

Research conducted by the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona and the Arizona Foundation for Women indicates that policies that support childcare and higher education are among the most effective ways to help low-income working families achieve economic self-sufficiency. This research provides strong evidence that pairing high-quality preschool services for children together with job training or education for parents produces positive outcomes for parents and children that go well beyond the benefits of preschool alone.

About the Partners

Pima Community College will provide administrative oversight, facilities, equipment, and supplies for the Center. The Center is located on the PCC Desert Vista campus in the H Building between the garden and Plaza building, with a playground is located on the north side. The Main building holds the College’s Hospitality/Culinary Program which will assist with food/snack purchasing and preparation. PCC has hired a grant-funded Program Manager and a Student Support Advisor/Coach, and they report to the Vice President of the Desert Vista Campus.  For more information, call Julie Mendivil, Program Manager, 520-206-5205. 

Child-Parent Centers, Inc. (CPC) is a community-based, non-profit corporation established in 1967. CPC is the long-standing Head Start/Early Head Start grantee in southeastern Arizona and serves 3,000 young children each year. Through this partnership, CPC will bring its expertise in high-quality early education and development to more children and families in Pima County. Families at the Center will not be enrolled in Head Start but will receive comparable services that include early learning, health and nutrition, and family engagement. For more information, call Erin Lyons, CEO, 520-623-2512.

Pima County’s Pima Early Education Program Scholarships (PEEPS). Pima County and the Pima Early Education Program (PEEPs) is funding most of the operating costs of the preschool class at the Desert Vista Campus, which means children from income-eligible families will attend for free. The Pima Early Education Program (PEEPs) was created at the direction of the Pima County Board of Supervisors in the spring of 2021 in response to the growing number of households with children ages 3-5 without access to high-quality preschool education. PEEPs operates under two main goals: to increase the number of 3-5 year-old children from low-income families attending high-quality preschools in Pima County, and to increase the number of high-quality preschools in Pima County. For more information, call Nicole Scott, Program Manager, 520-724-2696.

United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona (UWTSA) is a key partner in the development and success of this center as a quality early education program. In addition to funding and programmatic support, the Center is a part of United Way of Tucson’s Accelerate Quality Program. Accelerate Quality provides coaching and technical support, small improvement grants, and program assessments to early education and care centers. These supports help prepare programs to attain a high-quality rating through Arizona’s quality rating system, help them achieve accreditation, or help programs that are already high-quality add additional classrooms or spaces so they can serve more children.

United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is building a thriving community by uniting people, ideas, and resources. As UWTSA celebrates a century of service, it continues to respond to our community’s needs, transform individual lives, and bring long-lasting, systemic change to the community by focusing on the key, underlying issues. UWTSA fights for education, financial wellness, equality, and healthy communities for every person in Tucson and Southern Arizona from birth to end of life. The organization’s role as a community convener enables it to form strategic partnerships, mobilize the best resources, and be the catalyst for needed, positive change. Learn more at www.unitedwaytucson.org 

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