Single parents who attend community colleges could benefit from a pilot child care program proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo's executive budget calls for the creation of the Family Empowerment Community College Pilot Program. The initiative would provide child care services to as many as 400 single parents studying at New York community colleges.
Child care would be available on college campuses, according to the governor's office. The program would include career counseling, tutoring and assistance in transferring to a four-year college or university.
The child care proposal is part of the Women's Justice Agenda announced this week by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa.
"We want to ensure that single parents are provided with the resources they need, including child care and career counseling, to pursue a college education and ensure professional success," Hochul said in a statement.
Some community colleges already provided child care services. Cayuga Community College recently purchased the former Neighhorhood House site in Auburn to expand its child care program.
CCC's child care program serves more than 80 children. It's available to students, staff and members of the community.
While child care is available at community colleges, it remains a concern for single parents pursuing degrees. A study at Monroe Community College found single parents who used the school's child care center had an on-time graduation rate three times higher than students who didn't use the program.
Supporters of the proposal also view it as a way to address the gender pay gap. In New York, women earn 89 cents for every $1 a man earns. That's higher than the national average — women in the U.S. earn 80 percent of what men get paid — but state leaders want to close the gap.
Dina Bakst, co-founder and co-president of the legal advocacy organization A Better Balance, lauded the plan to create a child care pilot program at the state's community colleges.
"All too often, single mothers are unable to access higher education and job opportunities," Bakst said. "By providing women with everything from on-campus child care to advisement and educational supports, the pilot program will help lift women out of poverty and set them up for economic success."