On December 1 it was announced that the Cook County/Grand Marais EDA will receive $180,000 from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to use to assist childcare businesses in the county.
Cook County was one of 17 communities awarded a total of $2.5 million.
In making the announcement Minnesota Governor Walz said, “In every community across the state, we hear from families and small businesses that increasing access to affordable childcare is the best way to support our work force, grow our economy, and foster economic prosperity. These grants reach communities across our state to help increase childcare access and ensure families and our youngest Minnesotans receive the care and early education they deserve.”
“We continue to hear that a lack of quality childcare is one of the major hurdles preventing the growth of our workforce,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “This grant program has a direct effect on creating more childcare slots for parents across Minnesota. That’s why the Governor’s Council on Economic Expansion recommended increasing this funding as a key strategy in growing our state’s economy and workforce.”
The community organizations receiving the grants will use a variety of approaches ranging from partnering with local employers to build new childcare facilities, to training and assistance with licensing. These projects will help grow the supply of affordable, quality childcare in Minnesota.
Program funds will be used for childcare business startups or expansions, training, facility modifications, direct subsidies or incentives to retain employees, or improvements required for licensing, and assistance with licensing and other regulatory requirements. Priority was given to communities with a documented shortage of childcare providers in their proposed project area. The definition of documented shortages may include disparities in access to affordable, quality childcare among targeted groups including but not limited to rural communities, low-income communities, Black, Indigenous and people of color individuals, persons with disabilities, veterans, and women.
Since 2017, DEED has awarded more than $4 million to Minnesota organizations focused on increasing access to affordable, quality childcare across Minnesota. In total, the funding is expected to create 9431 new childcare slots across the state. Find out more and view a funding map on the Child Care Economic Development Grants page on DEED’s website.