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DEED issues grants to boost child care services across Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development have provided organizations in Bemidji and others across the state with grants to fund child care expansion initiatives.

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BEMIDJI -- Several northwest Minnesota organizations were awarded funds from the state Department of Employment and Economic Development to enhance child care services.

According to a release from DEED, grants totaling $2.42 million were issued to 14 organizations across the state. The grants are designed to bolster regional economic development by increasing the supply of child care providers.

"Access to quality child care is a crisis in Minnesota that is holding our workforce back," said Steve Grove, DEED commissioner. "These grants, the largest we've ever issued, will make a difference for hundreds of families across our state at a critical moment in Minnesota's economic growth."

Regional communities extending from central to northwest Minnesota receiving grants include:

  • Greater Bemidji Economic Development received $140,000.
  • The Northwest Minnesota Foundation in Bemidji received $224,000.
  • The Brainerd Family YMCA received $140,000.
  • Prairie Pines Childcare Center in Fosston received $240,000.
  • The city of Warren received $210,000.

Other communities with agencies receiving dollars included Duluth, Fergus Falls, Minneapolis and Worthington.
The release notes how priority was given to communities that have a documented shortage of child care providers in their proposed project area. The shortages may include disparities in access to affordable quality child care 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.

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RELATED: Minnesota job growth outpaces US, unemployment at 3.3%

This marks the first round of these grants, with a second round to be made available before June 2022, for a total of $5 million. The funding is part of an overall $8 million package to assist communities with their child care shortages.

The package includes $3 million directly for the state's six Minnesota Initiative Foundations covering greater Minnesota to assist communities and providers with training and planning efforts to expand the supply of child care.

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