New childcare grant program aims to alleviate staffing crisis in Northland

Duluth, MN
Duluth, MN(KBJR/CBS3 Duluth)
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 3:34 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN -- The Northland Foundation is partnering with the Duluth 1200 Fund and several other partners to provide more than $300,000 in grant money to local childcare providers.

The grants will be worth anywhere from $1,500 to $12,000 and are designed to help with staffing retention.

Childcare providers in the area say there was already a staffing crisis in the industry, but the pandemic made it worse.

According to Tony Sertich, president of the Northland Foundation, daycares had to deal with closures, staffing retention issues, and low workplace morale at a higher rate during the pandemic.

“Every day in Northeastern Minnesota, 3700 kids do not have access to childcare. This is a barrier for them and their families, and a barrier for our economy moving forward. It’s holding us back as a region,” said Tony Sertich, President of the Northland Foundation.

The new grant program aims to take a bit of the pressure of retaining employees off the businesses by allowing them to pay employees more.

Elena Foshay, Duluth’s director of workforce development, said childcare plays a critical role in the workforce as well.

“Parents need reliable and affordable childcare to be able to go to work, and childcare centers and providers are employers and they need workers to help them fulfill their responsibility to prop up the workforce in their community,” said Foshay.

The hope is by keeping people around, those businesses will be able to provide better and more extensive care to communities around the region.

Applications are open now through December 13th on the Northland Foundation’s website.

Recipients will be announced in late January.