By Joshua Schuetz
In December 2022, Nobles County Community Services Agency (NCCSA) was awarded $150,000 through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Child Care Economic Development Grant.
NCCSA began working with CEDA in June 2022 to identify ways to increase the county’s supply of child care and support current child care providers. Data from First Children’s Finance (FCF), found that Nobles County has a shortage of more than 700 child care slots.
CEDA team members Joshua Schuetz and Angie Kopplow began co-authoring the county’s CCED grant in August, submitting it at the end of that month. Together with NCCSA Director Stacie Golombiecki and Children’s Services Supervisor Beth Mahoney, Schuetz and Kopplow solicited ideas from current child care providers, NCCSA staff, businesses and local parents on priorities to support providers and increase child care capacity in the county.
Three ideas emerged through those conversations, all of which were built into the grant. Two separate child care funds, one to support providers with miscellaneous expenses and one to assist providers seeking to start or expand their businesses to serve more children. A child care subsidy to assist families in paying child care expenses was also built into the grant application, along with additional funding to continue NCCSA’s work with CEDA.
“This is a major win for Nobles County,” Schuetz said. “Through this funding, we will be able to better support children, families and child care providers in the county.”
On December 20th, the Nobles County Board of Commissioners approved a request from Kopplow, Schuetz and NCCSA for an additional $400,000 in funding toward the three child care initiatives funded through the DEED grant.