Access to child care is the fastest growing economic development and community issue in southwest Minnesota.
Southwest Initiative Foundation is committed to finding solutions that help families, employers and communities. We’re helping with planning and investing in local projects, providing professional development for providers close to home and ensuring leaders and the general public have access to information and understand current child care issues. So far, this work has helped create or retain nearly 1,000 child care slots in the region.
Click on the buildings in this map to discover ideas for community solutions to the child care shortage.
Economic Development Organization (EDO)
Child care is as important to a community’s economic vitality as housing, good schools, jobs or recreational amenities. As a leader in supporting job growth and business retention, have you considered how child care is impacting your community’s growth?Learn More
The chamber plays a critical role in awareness building, convening leaders and facilitating conversations within the business community, especially when it comes to engaging in the child care conversation. Have your members indicated that child care availability is impacting employee recruitment and retention?Learn More
You play a critical role of educating children in the local community. Awareness of and alignment with different educational programs throughout the community, from birth until school-age, is critical to ensure programs remain successful and continue to provide quality care and education for local families and children. Have you considered how access to child care impacts employee recruitment and retention and student enrollment?Learn More
Post-secondary education is critical in preparing people for the workforce. As the primary location to access required licensures, diplomas, degrees, etc. enhancing your programs to meet the day-to-day demands of certain industries can benefit everyone, including the child care industry. How connected are you with your local child care providers, both family and center based? If you haven’t yet, visit the Child Care Aware website to find staff in your area.Learn More
Child care is a critical component to the success of a local business. While it may be a silent partner, considering what the child care business environment is like in your community is very important. Think about who uses child care — you or your employees? What kind of care is or is not available locally? Does that impact your staff?Learn More
Leadership, regulations and community planning play a critical role in the conversation around child care. Your unique position allows this conversation to reach all members of the community. Do your zoning code and city ordinances allow for flexibility to support innovative solutions for child care that our rural communities need?Learn More
As a place where people gather to celebrate, grieve, worship and learn, communities of faith offer a unique service to the community. With many of these activities happening on the weekends, what other ways are you engaging with the community throughout the week? Have you considered ways to engage in the child care conversation? How do you serve families beyond traditional faith activities?Learn More
Sharing a meal with someone can nourish relationships and spark new conversations. Your place in the local economy brings people to town to support your business. Restaurants can play an important role in supporting local child care providers too. Have you considered ways to expand your business while helping others at the same time?Learn More
Hospital / Clinic
In addition to supporting the health and wellbeing of area residents, health care providers are often major employers in the rural communities where they are located. Quality child care impacts your workforce, and you have unique resources to help make a positive impact on local child care provider businesses. What ways can you partner with local child care providers to enhance services provided?Learn More
As with other business development projects, financial institutions can play a critical role by providing capital to foster the start-up and expansion of child care enterprises. Unique partnerships with local economic development organizations and other investors provide great opportunities to support innovative solutions to meet local child care needs. Do your products and services support this critical sector?Learn More
Local fire departments serve and protect our communities in so many ways. The need for additional training is constant. Having a member familiar with the needs of child care providers can be a huge boost to the local economy. Have you had any conversations about supporting economic development for the child care sector in your community?Learn More
Research shows intergenerational interaction is healthy for people of all ages. Creating these opportunities can benefit older adults by enhancing socialization, increasing emotional support and improving health. It benefits children by developing new relationships, learning new social skills and decreasing negative behavior. Have you thought about intergenerational programming opportunities in your community?Learn More