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Alexandria joins effort to respond to child care shortage

Alexandria is one of three communities in the state that will be forming a Core Team to lead the community engagement process designed to address the challenges of child care in Greater Minnesota.

Jackie Peters
Jackie Peters
licia marie/licia marie
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ALEXANDRIA — Child care is critical component to a growing economy, generating an economic impact of $99.3 billion in the United States. For regional centers and rural communities, the lack of high-quality child care is directly impacting worker shortages, hindering company growth and shrinking future generations.

Annually, First Children’s Finance selects communities through a competitive application process to participate in its Rural Child Care Innovation Program. Alexandria is one of three communities in the state that will be forming a Core Team to lead the community engagement process designed to address the challenges of child care in Greater Minnesota.

“Quality, affordable child care has surfaced as an urgent community need,” Jackie Peters, Alexandria Area YMCA executive director, said in a press release. “We have identified a child care as a strategic priority and through this program, the YMCA can help our community quantify and substantiate the need for additional quality and affordable child care.”

The Rural Child Care Innovation Program is based on the fundamental idea that rural communities are greater than their size in numbers and greater than their current challenges. By mobilizing and empowering rural communities, the landscape of early care and education is changing.

As one of the selected communities, Alexandria will go through a community engagement process that will include exploring its current workforce and demographic data to seek right-size solutions to the child care shortage utilizing existing assets and creating new partnerships within the community.

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A core team of employers, early childhood professionals, elected and local leaders, and parents will be formed to lead this work. The core teams will begin meeting in August 2022.

The entire community will be invited to provide feedback and input on the child care need and assist with developing solutions at a Town Hall Meeting this fall. First Children’s Finance will be leading the RCCIP process. Funding for this program is provided by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

“We are excited to announce our partnership with Alexandria Area YMCA and the Alexandria community,” Linda Mathiasen, business development specialist at First Children’s Finance, said in a press release. “Through our experience, the Rural Child Care Innovation Project process is an effective tool in identifying right-sized solutions and getting the entire community engaged to create their desired future.”

To learn more about the Rural Child Care Innovation Program in Alexandria, contact Jackie Peters at 320-834-9622.

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