Kandiyohi County Rural Child Care Innovation Project

Kandiyohi County Rural Child Care Innovation Project

December 19, 2019

Kandiyohi County Rural Child Care Innovation Project

Family childcare and childcare centers are businesses with accounting measures and regulations to follow. They are essential for maintaining the workforce for our businesses and instrumental in providing early education at a critical stage of child development, beginning the preparation of our future workforce.

Understanding the problem

A 2018 study completed by First Children’s Finance (FCF), an organization known nationally for its leadership in childcare planning and financing, revealed a shortage of childcare access for at least 775 children in Kandiyohi County. The areas with the most need included Spicer, New London and Willmar. As a result of this study, in 2018, the EDC identified childcare as an important goal in maintaining the workforce for our businesses in Kandiyohi County and for regional economic growth.

Working towards a solution

The Kandiyohi County Rural Child Care Innovation Project resulted from this survey, and the EDC is one of 20 partners that have been working over the past year conducting meetings and events geared toward support of current childcare professionals and securing additional services, all with the help of Jessica Beyer of FCF.

Jessica is funded and committed to continue this support to the local group for another 12 to 18 months. The EDC has engaged in specific childcare business planning and financing. Additionally, the EDC has approved funding for other projects that have the potential to bring resolution to the existing shortage of
childcare centers and childcare providers.

The EDC has contributed financially in the following ways:

    • $10,000 for the capital campaign for the YMCA Spicer Early Learning Center;
    • $900 for the Early Childhood Career Exploration Class to entice and engage potential students for childcare certification and/or early childhood education degrees;
    • $900 for scholarships toward students of the childcare certification and early childhood education classes at Ridgewater College; and
    • Business planning and $25,000 in revolving loan funds to the Willmar Child Care Center.

New local childcare options:

    • The Willmar Child Care Center will have room for 60 children and will operate two shifts, providing care for up to 120 children each day. Buildout at 500 Industrial Drive SW in Willmar is now complete. Owner Mohamoud Mohamed reports they are now applying for state licensing and hope to open their doors soon.
    • The Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA conducted a successful capital campaign to build and operate a childcare center in Spicer, Minnesota. This center will have room for 90 children, including many spaces for infants, filling a great need in the area. The opening date is Monday, December 23, 2019.
    • United Community Action Partnership conducted training and orientation to prepare several women in the community to open their own family childcare business. Kandiyohi County Family Services performs the licensing for the family childcare businesses.