(The Center Square) – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Tuesday its second round of $2.425 million in funding for community partners to boost child care providers and, subsequently, economic development.
The department a year ago awarded $2.425 million to 14 projects through the Child Care Economic Development Grants. Prairie Pines Childcare Center in Fosston, CLUES in Saint Paul and Northland Foundation in Duluth each received $240,000 in the fiscal year 2022 round, a map showed. The smallest grant, $75,000, went to Nobles County Community Service Agency in Worthington.
Local governments and nonprofits with experience in the operations, financing, advocacy, or advancement of the delivery of child care services can request up to $300,000 in state funds.
Minnesota legislators authorized the funding in 2021. At least half of the funding must go to communities outside the metropolitan area, and, unless otherwise exempted, recipients must declare they have received a 50% non-state match through specified cash or in-kind contributions. DEED staff and managers and external reviewers review applications and allocate the funding. The DEED Commissioner can change the amount awarded to any project.
Proposals that can demonstrate their project will serve more communities or create more new child care slots will be more competitive, the department said. Communities with documented shortages of providers will also receive priority. Shortages can include limited access to affordable quality child care in rural or low-income communities or among individuals of minority groups, persons with disabilities, veterans and women. Proposals with higher percentages of non-state matching funds to state funds also receive more priority.
Individual child care providers seeking funding are encouraged to partner with organizations with experience in planning or financing child care facilities, the release said.
“We continue to hear that a lack of quality child care is one of the major hurdles preventing the growth of our workforce,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said in the release. “Through past grants, we’ve seen the positive impact this funding has on both families and communities. We’re excited this next round of grants will further address the child care shortage and help parents pursue their careers and support their families.”
Funds can support child care business startups or expansions, training, facility modifications, subsidies or incentives for employee retention or improvements to meet licensing requirements.
A webinar about the program will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 26. To join, click the Microsoft Teams meeting link here or call 651-395-7448 (Conference ID 175 607 021#).
Award recipients will be notified in October.