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Service industry workers can apply for up to a year of free child care through the Service Industry Recovery Child Care Program. The application deadline is March 31, 2022. 

Funded by the Texas Workforce Commission and facilitated by Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area, the program offers assistance to service industry workers who were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The demand for workers in the service industry is at an all-time high, and access to affordable, high-quality child care has often been a barrier for parents eager to return to work,” said Paul Fletcher, CEO of Workforce Solutions RCA, in a statement. “That’s why the Service Industry Recovery Child Care Program delivers solutions for eligible Texans by offering 12 months of free child care tuition assistance as (parents) re-enter the workforce. We’re proud to utilize this additional funding to support our world-class workforce and build on the excellent early care and education system already in place.”

To be eligible, parents must be employed, training for, or seeking employment in the following fields: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation, Accommodation and Food Services, and Retail Trade

Children being placed in care must be 12 years or younger or under 19 if disabled. Applications are available online in both English and Spanish. Proof of employment and proof of legal citizenship or immigration status for children needing care are required with each application.

Eligible families must have a gross income falling below 75 percent of the state’s median income. A table explaining income requirements is available on the program webpage

Families can choose their child care providers from the state-approved list on the Texas Child Care Availability Portal. Workforce Solutions RCA will make direct payments to child care providers. 

For more information about the program, email childcareconnect@ruralcapital.net or call 512-260-1937. Information about additional income-based child care scholarship opportunities for those working outside of the service industry is available in the Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area child care portal. 

editor@thepicayune.com