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Holyoke Community College to offer free day care for students' kids

Holyoke Community College associate professor Sheila Gould, director of HCC's Early Childhood Education program. (Courtesy Holyoke Community College)
Holyoke Community College associate professor Sheila Gould, director of HCC's Early Childhood Education program. (Courtesy Holyoke Community College)

Holyoke Community College will soon offer free child care to its students while they attend classes.

The service will offer drop-in care to children from infants to 12 years old. It's a six-month pilot and is scheduled to start in March.

Sheila Gould is the director of the college's early childhood education program. She said that for decades, child care has been a significant barrier to accessing higher education.

"The pandemic really made it even harder to access child care," she said. "The early childhood workforce is really in crisis mode and accessing quality care is difficult."

HCC's program will be the first of its kind in western Massachusetts.

Springfield Technical Community College hosts a private day care provider on campus, but its services aren't free for all students.

Greenfield Community College said it's working on a day care option for its students.

Nearby, in Enfield, Connecticut, Asnuntuck Community College has a day care co-op for students, staff and faculty. It requires parents to work there two hours per week and will reopen in the fall.

This story is part of the New England News Collaborative. It was originally published by New England Public Media.

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