CHEYENNE — Governor Gordon’s Early Childhood State Advisory Council has been awarded a $2 million dollar grant to support and improve early childhood education programs in Wyoming.
The federal grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. It will be used to help the Council utilize existing resources more efficiently; encourage partnerships among child care and PreK providers, Head Start Programs, and state and local governments; and improve transitions between early childhood programs and school systems. The year-long project will include the development of an in-depth strategic plan and a comprehensive statewide birth through five needs assessment.
“Having a strong start to a child’s educational journey helps propel them to a strong finish in their later education and workforce endeavors,” Governor Gordon said. “I’m proud to support this opportunity to develop a strategic plan and vision for the state’s early childhood system that will help Wyoming’s communities and economy grow and thrive.”
“Quality early childhood experiences lay the foundation for a person’s entire life trajectory,” said Robin Cooley, Director of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, one of several partnering agencies. “This funding will enhance the state’s current early childhood system and provide the necessary infrastructure to support not only children but their families and the early childhood education and care workforce.”
Other partnering agencies and organizations include Align; WY Kids First; Wyoming Early Childhood Outreach Network at the University of Wyoming; Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative; the Wyoming Department of Family Services, Department of Health and Department of Education; Wyoming Head Start Association and private child care and early education providers.
“I am confident that the best is yet to come as we continue our work together to ensure that all of our state’s young children grow, learn and live in the ways that maximize their potential now and in the future,” said Becca Steinhoff, Executive Director of WY Kids First and member of the Early Childhood State Advisory Council.
The Wyoming Early Childhood Advisory Council was created through an Executive Order issued in November 2019. The Council includes representatives from the Wyoming Department of Education, the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Community College system, the Wyoming Legislature, early childhood educators, the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes, and others with early childhood expertise.