TRAC program allots more than $210,000 to early care and learning providers

June 6, 2024

The Training, Resource, and Advocacy Connector (TRAC) — an initiative of the East Central Indiana Talent Collaborative (ECITC) — announced the allocation of more than $210,000 to 22 early care and learning (ECL) providers across East Central Indiana. The distribution stems from TRAC allowing ECL providers to apply for Regional Activity Support (RAS) grants for the first time.

Local education centers, representing eight East Central Indiana counties, plan to use the freshly awarded funds for impactful projects, ranging from playground expansions to the development of outdoor learning spaces

“While narrowing down the final applicants was a challenging task, it fills us with excitement to support and empower so many deserving projects,” said Lucinda Stipp, TRAC program coordinator.

Rushville-based Little Stars Learning Academy was named a recipient of the TRAC funding rollout, and it plans to construct an outdoor learning space for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) education. The center’s owner, Kristen Hass said she and her staff were especially grateful for the TRAC funds because her facility does not usually qualify for other grants. 

“Little Stars Learning Academy is so excited to be a 2024 recipient of the Regional Activity Support Award through TRAC,” Hass said. “Since we are LLEP [Legally Licensed Exempt Provider], we don’t typically qualify for awards. However, because of TRAC, this award will allow us to offer our students STEM activities in a safe outdoor environment.”

The READI 1.0 initiative, which went into effect in 2021, provided the leading financial support for both the RAS and TRAC programs. The East Central Indiana Regional Partnership (ECIRP) collaborated with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to secure $15 million for the region through READI 1.0’s statewide funding distribution.

TRAC — which services Delaware, Blackford, Grant, Jay, Randolph, Wayne, Henry, Rush and Fayette counties — was founded in 2023, and it has already proven to be a dynamic initiative. Jeri McCorkle, Program Manager for TRAC, said the program will not only benefit the East Central Indiana region, but its approach could also shape education programs across the state.

“We will build a strong foundation that East Central Indiana uses – and Indiana sees as a model – to advance early care and learning, its professional workforce, communities, and economic development,” McCorkle said.

For more information on the East Central Indiana Talent Collaborative and TRAC, visit here.