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Funding incentives to attract child care workers brings La Crosse community groups together

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Some community organizations in La Crosse are banding together to recruit more child care workers in the area.

A campaign called QUEST has been started, aimed at increasing funds for hiring or training child care professionals.

Claire Bakalars from the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Board said at a news conference Tuesday the project will choose candidates to train for child care work.

“We will pay vendors, providers directly,” Bakalars said. “So if you’re going to (Western Tech) for early childhood education, we will go ahead and pay your tuition costs, your books, your fees. We’ll support you, so that way it removes those barriers for people.”

Bakalars wants to see workers improve their skills and advance within the child care profession, possibly becoming directors of child care centers.

Representatives of the Parenting Place, the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association and La Crosse County also are involved in the project.

The funding provided by participating groups could develop up to 20 positions for child care workers in western Wisconsin.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.