Taking Positive Steps to End the Northland’s Childcare Crisis
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Long before the coronavirus pandemic shook the world, parents across the northland struggled to find high-quality childcare. Then, as parents juggled remote working and distance learning, the absolute necessity of childcare became even more urgent than we could have imagined just a year ago. In short, it has become abundantly clear that our economy depends on reliable childcare and our current availability is sorely lacking. Not only are our communities short on available childcare slots, but the financial and regulatory burdens to develop new childcare centers have created severe barriers to entry.
In December, APEX convened a group of childcare providers, economic developers, local chambers and APEX investor-members to identify paths to ease our regional childcare crisis. Conversation centered on strategies to grow access to affordable, safe and high-quality childcare and the crucial nature of attracting and retaining regional families. Deeply important research and lobbying on the subject has been led by regional partners for the last few years, as well as a virtual childcare industry career fair in January. For APEX, the next steps forward became more clear as a result of this roundtable and following extensive internal discussion throughout these last couple of months. APEX’s internal priorities have ironed out as follows:
- Develop template for ‘Childcare Center Development Playbook’
- Work with regional communities to customize ‘Childcare Center Development Playbook’ to reflect unique local needs
- Advocate legislators for government subsidies for childcare providers that support working families
- Identify alternative and additional community value measurements of childcare center development for incentive providers to consider (i.e. job multiplier, productivity growth, participation rates, etc.)
The roundtable group was in unanimous agreement that it is time to pave the way for more childcare facilities throughout the northland. Each new facility will strengthen the local business sector, create jobs (direct and secondary), help sustain our economy, provide essential early childhood education, and enable more people to enter and remain in the workforce for years to come.
We at APEX would like to extend our deepest thanks for all who attended the roundtable and shared their unique insights. At this time, we have no additional outreach or meetings planned on the topic of childcare. However, we will be sharing major milestones and projects as they occur in future Pinnacle articles. Also, as a relied-upon partner in business recruitment, APEX will continue to grow and foster existing relationships with Twin Cities-based childcare centers seeking potential growth in our region. While COVID challenges and uncertainty paused our visits and discussions, we look forward to reenergizing these conversations throughout 2021.
If your business is interested in best practices for managing staff who are parents working remotely with no access to childcare, here are some sound suggestions to aid this common yet complicated issue:
For more information on the childcare roundtable and current efforts being led by APEX, reach out to Senior Business Developer, Ian Vincent at firstname.lastname@example.org.