The York County Economic Alliance (YCEA) and ECHO (Every Child Has Opportunities) announce two new grant opportunities for early childhood education providers. Both grants open today, May 1, and will close May 23 at 5pm. Awardees will be notified in July.

Start Up Home Based Provider Grant

Available through the BLOOM Business Empowerment Center, a program of the YCEA, grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 will be awarded to early childhood education start-up businesses across York County. For eligibility, details and to apply, visit

ECHO Innovation Grants

This program pilot will award grants ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 to early childhood education programs in York County, Pennsylvania to fund innovative projects that expand the number of children and families served or increase the quality of care and education provided. Full-time early childhood education programs located in York County, PA Current Department of Human Services (DHS) Certificate of Compliance, Early Head Start/Head Start Grantee, or Pre-K Counts Grantee are all eligible. For eligibility, details and to apply, visit

This comes in direct response to the crisis in early childhood education we face as a community, a Commonwealth, and a Nation. In 2020, pre-pandemic, York County had 221 early childhood education providers. In three years, that number dropped to 170. Those that survived the pandemic are operating on average at 85% of typical enrollment due to teacher and workforce shortages. Early childhood education program waitlists average 50-75 children, and many have stopped adding to their lists.

Pennsylvania suffers a $3.47 billion impact due to childcare issues in lost tax revenue and employer costs. And 54% of employers in PA said one of the most significant reasons they lost employees was due to childcare issues. According to American Progress, in Pennsylvania, 57 percent of all residents live in a childcare desert, defined as an area where there are more than three times as many children as licensed childcare slots.