What is the grant?
The EDC, along with support from the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission applied for the Child Care Economic Development Grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development in the fall of 2022. As a result, Kandiyohi County was awarded $200,000 to be met with matching funds and applied to child care retention and creation within the county. Kandiyohi County will support the project with $150,000 and the City of Willmar matching with $100,000. Other cities and townships in the county have been invited to financially support the grant through matching dollars as well. In addition, we received $30,000 from First Children’s Finance as additional award funds. The EDC wants to thank all of our partners for their contributions leading up to the grant award.
The Kandiyohi County Child Care Project has three key goals:
- Increase child care slots throughout Kandiyohi County
- Provide support and resources for new and existing providers to decrease the number of providers exiting the field
- Create opportunities for all Kandiyohi County providers to grow their child care services.
The organization of the grant and work will be overseen by the local Rural Child Care Innovation Program Team. The (RCCIP) team consists of 30 core members from a variety of private, public, government, and non-profits leaders. These teams will divide into smaller, more specialized task groups for program delivery.
Forms and applications are going to be launched on March 6th. You can revisit this site for further details. Please also see our Upcoming Events for details on the March 6th
How does the grant serve you?
If you are a current in-home or child care center provider, someone who is interested in starting child care or a business or location that would like to host or create a child care opportunity the Kandiyohi County Child Care Project is created to support you.
The grant dollars will be delivered in six main umbrellas of projects.
- Forgivable Loans
Forgivable loans will be available to support child care expenses for current child care providers looking to expand or those who are currently working to achieve licensing. This includes educational materials, equipment, items that address safety, and much more.
- Mentorship Program
This program will match those who are new or planning on entering child care with those who are established providers. The mentors will receive a stipend for participation and will work with the RCCIP Team to establish the length and detailed specifics of the mentorship program.
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The EAP will establish free mental health support for providers and child care center staff with Woodland Centers.
- Fee Reimbursement & Transportation
The ability to have a yearly license and other necessary fees reimbursed will be covered under this umbrella. There will also be the creation of a transportation token system that would support centers and providers being able to take children on outings.
This RCCIP Team will work to identify, conduct or host and promote training that meets state requirements for providers. This will include technical support as the state system transitions to fully online and no longer a paper one.
- Translation Services
Translation services will be available for those who need assistance navigating the child care licensing process in a language other than spoken English (ASL, Somali, Spanish, etc) and will support the creation of diverse child care opportunities.
How do you access these funds?
First, we will have an informational meeting on Monday, March 6th from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at Robin’s Island. This will be the one meeting where you can learn about each specific program and how to access it directly from RCCIP, EDC, and MMDC staff. Afterward, you can work directly with the EDC and MMDC to apply for loans and learn how to access each program. We will also be updating this page as projects are defined.
You can revisit this site on March 6th to access the application/s.