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Initiative Quarterly

Governor's Visit Puts Child Care Needs in Spotlight

July 22, 2019

The Initiative Foundation continued its advocacy role to address the statewide child care crisis when it served as host to a roundtable discussion on July 10 that included Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.

Need for Quality, Affordable Child Care Takes Center Stage During Roundtable Discussion

Minnesota is confronted with one of the worst child care shortages anywhere in the nation, with more than four children under age 5 for every available child care center slot. Though the state has long had one of the country's highest rates of workforce participation among parents with young children, a recent study from the Center for American Progress found that more than 3.8 million Minnesotans are living in a community with fewer than one child care center spot for every three kids who need it. 
In response to the crisis, the Minnesota Legislature in 2019 approved $1.5 million in funding to help create 2,800 new child care slots. Half that money goes to the state Department of Employment and Economic Development. The other half goes to the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations to help communities address local child care shortages.

"I don't know employers in any sector in the region who aren't desperate for skilled workers right now, so when you have barriers like limited access to affordable child care, it hits everybody," said Don Hickman, vice president for community and workforce development at the Initiative Foundation. "This will limit our economic health if we don't figure out a way to solve it together."

Roundtable participants included Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls; Sen. Jeff Howe, R-Rockville; Heidi Hagel Braid, Minnesota director for First Children's Finance; Jason Polovick, Central Todd County Senior Care Facility; Brigadier Gen. Lowell Kruse, Camp Ripley; Marcia Schlattman, Milestones; Christina Gesme, child care provider; Jon Radermacher, city of Little Falls; Carol Anderson, Community Development of Morrison County; Anna Gruber, Sourcewell city and county manager; and Anna Peterson, chief of staff for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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