Earlier this year, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri announced the Utica Prosperity Initiative, a framework for the city to achieve substantive and sustainable impact by utilizing resources to address the needs of the community. As part of the initiative, the city solicited public input to determine the community’s top priorities, projects, and programs.
In June, the city unveiled the Utica Prosperity Initiative’s Phase I projects, one of which was an expansion of childcare. Childcare was overwhelmingly the community’s most supported project as part of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI).
Mayor Palmieri, in partnership with United Way of the Mohawk Valley (United Way MV) and Academics First, Thursday announced the city will provide funding to expand the hours of childcare as outlined in Phase I. Academics First currently offers licensed childcare from 6 a.m.- 6 p.m. on weekdays, however, with this investment, childcare will soon be available from 6 a.m. - 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. on weekends. United Way and Academics First are working on the ramp up to offer those expanded hours. The additional hours will accommodate a wider range of needs of parents and caregivers.
The city will be announcing the implementation of other Phase I projects and unveil the Utica Prosperity Initiative’s Phase II projects next week.
Mayor Palmieri stated, “The Utica Prosperity Initiative is about listening to the community. Childcare is clearly a huge hurdle in combatting poverty, and it is imperative we expand it to help more parents in need. I thank United Way for their outstanding work and look forward to the continuing partnership.”
United Way of the Mohawk Valley Executive Director Erin Gutierrez Matt stated, “Supporting childcare in our region has always been a top priority for United Way. Partnering with the City of Utica on this initiative allows Academics First to continue to expand access to affordable childcare when families need it the most.”
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About Academics First
Academics First is the Mohawk Valley’s first and only NYS Licensed extended-day childcare center. They provide an affordable, quality, safe, and reliable educational environment with operating hours to fit the modern family’s needs. The non-profit organization is led by local clergywoman Pastor Kathy Hughes of Deliverance First Ministries.
Established in 2020, Academics First is the product of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative- Utica (ESPRI-U), as an investment in combatting poverty and creating economic mobility for residents in the City of Utica, NY. United Way of the Mohawk Valley led the project, starting with convening the community to identify a solution to create mobility for residents and advancing the common good for all. United Way MV and Deliverance First Ministries worked hand in hand to launch this one-of-a-kind childcare center.
For information about Academics First visit www.academicsfirstutica.org.
For information about Deliverance First Ministries visit www.dfmministries934.com.
About United Way of the Mohawk Valley
Since 1921, United Way of the Mohawk Valley (United Way MV) has been a human service leader helping thousands of local individuals and families by bringing people and organizations together to solve our community’s challenges. As one of the area’s top funders, dozens of programs rely on United Way MV funding each year.
United Way MV is a leader in innovation through projects and initiatives addressing crucial community issues in the impact areas of health, education, and financial stability, such as childcare through the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI), Ready for Kindergarten, 211, and housing and homelessness efforts.