LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A new model for childcare pushed by state lawmakers requires participation from employers.

The model, which is known as the Tri-Share Program, was introduced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in early-2021 and is designed to share the cost of childcare equally among the employer, employee, and the state.

It just passed its pilot phase, and the group behind the effort to promote the Tri-Share Program is calling for more companies to participate.

“It’s really a tool for our businesses to be able to attract and retain the best and brightest talent, knowing that childcare is a major barrier to folks entering and staying in the workforce,” said Alexa Kramer of the Small Business Association of Michigan.

Kramer believes the program keeps people from having to choose between work and family, and employers gain the benefit of not having to lose a potential worker.

“If they lose an employee, they know exactly how much it costs them to rehire, retrain, so this is really a drop in the bucket compared to that. I’ve talked to a couple moms recently who have said this has been a life saver for them, because they were at the point where they were having decide, ‘Do I work, or do I not work?’”

Lawmakers hope that the Tri-Share Program will gain momentum among lawmakers, after getting much-needed support from both sides of the aisle.

“There is interest to see how many families; how many workers; how many employers start signing up for this, so that they see this program; they can see the benefit of this program for their employers,” said Greg VanWoerkom, a Republican member of the Michigan House of Representatives.

Supporters believe the unique childcare program is putting Michigan in the national spotlight.

“I think it is starting to be a program that other states are looking to – this Tri-Share Program, when it comes to childcare in particular – and so I expect more and more states to be able to adopt it, but Michigan was truly the leader, which is really awesome,” Kramer said.

As for fighting the battle to get it adopted, the Tri-Share Program has 13 offices around the state that are being used to help promote the idea.