Early Care and Learning Providers Receive Funding From TRAC Program

More than 20 early care and learning providers received Regional Activity Support Funds from TRAC. Photo providedMore than 20 early care and learning providers received Regional Activity Support Funds from TRAC. Photo provided

By Michelle Kinsey—

MUNCIE, IN—The Training, Resource, & Advocacy Connector (TRAC) has awarded more than $210,000 to early care and learning (ECL) providers in eight East Central Indiana counties.

This is the first time TRAC has provided this opportunity for ECL providers to apply for funding as part of its Regional Activity Support efforts.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response to our Regional Activity Support (RAS) program, reflecting the vibrant engagement and dedication in our communities,” said Lucinda Stipp, TRAC program coordinator. “While narrowing down the final applicants was a challenging task, it fills us with excitement to support and empower so many deserving projects.”

TRAC was created in 2023 under the East Central Indiana Talent Collaborative (ECITC), operating out of the Office of Community Engagement at Ball State University. TRAC covers Delaware, Blackford, Grant, Jay, Randolph, Wayne, Henry, Rush and Fayette counties.

ECITC encourages local governments, businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits, and economic and workforce development partners to take a regional approach to creating a better quality of place, developing and skilling up the workforce, and connecting ECI talent and businesses seeking to fill high-demand, high-wage jobs.

The Regional Birth-5 Coalition of ECITC developed TRAC to provide training and resources to current ECL providers, encourage individuals to pursue ECL professions, and communicate and advocate the importance of ECL to employers, funders, and state and local decision makers.

TRAC is led by Program Manager Jeri McCorkle, who has decades of experience in education, and is an outspoken champion of early care and learning.

“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,” she said of the program.

Funding for the RAS awards and the TRAC program is provided by the READI 1.0 ECI award, awarded to the East Central Indiana Regional Partnership in 2021.

“Little Stars Learning Academy is so excited to be a 2024 recipient of the Regional Activity Support Award through TRAC,” said Kristen Hass, owner of Little Stars Learning Academy in Rushville. “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.”

Regional Activity Support Grant Recipients for 2024:

Bev’s Kindergarten Prep and Child Care, Straughn – Experience Curriculum

Country Kids Daycare 1, Straughn – Country Kids 1 Curriculum and Staff Training

Country Kids 2 Daycare Infant & Toddler, Straughn – Country Kids 2 Curriculum and Staff Training

GT Kids, Muncie – Supporting and Enhancing Classroom Environment

Happy Days Child Care, Rushville – On the Paths to Quality for Happy Days

Hazelwood, Muncie – The Right TRAC Program

Helen Lieber Early Learning Academy, Hartford City – Playground Expansion Project

Kiddin’ Around Daycare, New Castle – Experience Curriculum

Little Stars Learning Academy, Rushville – Outdoor Learning Spaces

Little Tots Around Daycare, New Castle – Experience Curriculum

Miss Christina’s Childcare, Upland – Childcare Class II Renovations

Monroe Central School Corporation, Parker City – Monroe Central Preschool

Oak Park Early Learning Academy, Richmond – Project S.T.E.A.M.

Old Richmond Daycare and Preschool, Richmond – Early Childhood Education/Kindergarten Readiness

Randolph Central School Corporation, Winchester – Expanding Early Childhood Education (Launching Quality Level 3 Preschool Classroom)

Randolph County YMCA, Winchester – Learning Environment

River of Life, Muncie – Kindergarten Readiness Program

Rush County REC Center Childcare, Rushville – REC Center Childcare

United Way of Jay County, Portland – Early Childhood Coalition Connections & Collaboration

Westminster Preschool, Marion – Toddler Classroom Expansion

Woodside Child Care, Muncie – Woodside Child Care Home Expansion

YMCA, Muncie – YMCA of Muncie Early Childhood Education Nature Experience


Michelle Kinsey is Communications Manager at the Office of Community Engagement at Ball State.