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The Learning Lamp Receives $756,690 ARC POWER Initiative Grant to Boost Child Care Supply

Posted on October 17, 2022

Johnstown, PA (Oct. 17, 2022) —The Learning Lamp has been awarded $756,690 over three years by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to pilot innovative child care solutions in underserved areas of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties. The “Child Care Works for the Southern Alleghenies” project also helps current and aspiring early childhood and PreK-4 teachers

access a career pathway where college is free through (Early Childhood Education) ECE Registered Pre-Apprenticeship, ECE Registered Apprenticeship, and other post-secondary pathways.

The award is part of a recently announced nearly $47 million package supporting 52 projects in 181 coal-impacted counties through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, which directs federal resources to economic diversification projects in Appalachian communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries. This is the largest single POWER awards package to date since the initiative launched in 2015. Additional support for the PROJECT is provided by OTHER FUNDERS.

“Our coal-impacted communities are a vital part of Appalachia’s 13 states and 423 counties—when our coal communities thrive, our entire region is uplifted,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “This latest round of POWER grant funding will not only help struggling coal communities to once again compete in a global marketplace, but also expand support for the creation of new jobs through growing Appalachia’s food economy.”

The Learning Lamp’s project, which totals $1.5 million, matches ARC POWER Initiative Grant funding with committed funds from the ECE Professional Development Organization (PDO) at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) headquartered at Shippensburg University, a PA Department of Human Services grant supported by PA Senator Wayne Langerholc and Representative Frank Burns, and a grant from Community Foundation for the Alleghenies earmarked for a multimedia messaging and recruitment campaign. The Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children (PENNAEYC) and Ligonier Valley School District also supported the project with in-kind contributions of services and space.

“This funding will transform our early learning landscape in the Alleghenies region. It will increase supports for child care providers, attract new workers to the field, and expand the availability of child care so more local families can go to work and stay in the workforce,” said Leah Spangler, president and CEO of The Learning Lamp.

Including today’s award package, ARC has invested nearly $366.6 million in 447 projects impacting 360 coal-impacted counties since POWER was established in 2015. A new evaluation conducted by Chamberlain/Dunn indicates that a majority of POWER projects met or exceeded output and outcome targets, with ARC’s investments projected to have helped create or retain more than 39,600 jobs and prepare over 100,000 workers and students for new opportunities in entrepreneurship, broadband, tourism, and other growing industries.

For more information about the Child Care Works for the Southern Alleghenies project, email Lisa Stofko at lstofko@thelearninglamp.org.


The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. In 2021, The Learning Lamp served 28,160 youth/adults from 51 school districts and 69 other schools and organizations in 19 Pennsylvania counties. Our programs include: child care and preschool, after school programs, tutoring, SAT prep, online learning, credit recovery, alternative education and specialized classrooms for at-risk students, trauma support groups for children/families, temporary staffing, and grant writing and project consulting for schools.

 About the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)

The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.

The latest on Instagram:

  • @thelearninglamp:Playing is hard work. Sometimes you just have to sit and take a break. #thelearninglamp #childcare #kids
  • @thelearninglamp:Summer planning just got a whole lot easier for child care and other youth-serving programs in Pennsylvania thanks to Best Day Ever! The ready-made, child and teacher-tested resource offers 24 free summer camp lesson plans for preschool and school-aged children. Find out more at https://lnkd.in/eDtxciDZ.
  • @thelearninglamp:The Employee Spotlight this week features Laura Strauch, a Preschool Teacher for The Learning Lamp’s child care center at Highlands Hospital in Connellsville. Laura has been working in childcare for almost 15 years, so it was a natural fit when she joined The Learning Lamp in June 2022. “I have had the opportunity to create my dream classroom that is a fun, yet educational atmosphere,” said Strauch. “Every day I learn something new about myself and how I can best teach each child in my care.” She is also adamant about passing on the knowledge she has learned to younger childcare workers at her center. “I recently finished my training to be a coach for the pre-apprenticeship program, and I’m very excited to be a part of it,” said Strauch. “I hope that sharing my experiences will benefit others! Thank you, Laura, for your dedication to child care and the children we serve! #employeespotlight #ouremployeesareawesome #awesomeemployees #greatemployees
  • @thelearninglamp:YOU can make a difference when you work with students as a Personal Care Aide in the classroom setting. Ignite Education Solutions is hiring now Personal Care Aides for the high school in the Westmont area. This position offers a flexible schedule -- when school is off, so are you, advancement opportunities, training, and more! Qualified candidates must have a high school diploma and the ability to pass required clearances. Apply today! https://thelearninglamp.workbrightats.com/jobs/929239-92234.html

From Facebook:

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No nights or weekends, and holidays off! We're hiring a part-time Preschool Aide to work in the Claysburg area. Build a career with an organization that offers room to grow! Successful candidate must have a high school diploma and 2 years of experience (this can include volunteer work, babysitting children other than your own, and more - just ask us!). Apply online today at thelearninglamp.workbrightats.com/jobs/948217-92234.html.

#helpwanted #workwithkids #childcare #childcarejobs #jobseekers #nowhiring
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3 hours ago
No nights or weekends, and holidays off! Were hiring a part-time Preschool Aide to work in the Claysburg area. Build a career with an organization that offers room to grow! Successful candidate must have a high school diploma and 2 years of experience (this can include volunteer work, babysitting children other than your own, and more - just ask us!). Apply online today at https://thelearninglamp.workbrightats.com/jobs/948217-92234.html.

#helpwanted #workwithkids #childcare #childcarejobs #jobseekers #nowhiring