Childcare Crisis: Gov. Walz advocates for budget proposal at Duluth daycare

Northern News Now at 6pm
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 3:08 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Governor Tim Walz made a stop in Duluth Wednesday to show how he believes his budget proposal will help solve some of Northern Minnesota’s childcare problems.

“The stress that comes with not having access to quality childcare is immense,” Walz said.

Between high cost and lack of space, Walz said the childcare crisis is reaching a breaking point.

He and other childcare leaders gathered at the YWCA in Duluth to share just how dire the situation is.

“Today in the Northland, 4,000 children do not have access to childcare and, at the same time, providers, be they at-home or centers, are really struggling to make ends meet,” Tony Sertich, president and CEO of the Northland Foundation, said.

Governor Walz wants to invest a bulk of the state’s $17.5 billion surplus into early childcare development and education.

RELATED: Governor Walz unveils revised ‘One Minnesota’ budget

It would come in the form of child tax credits, early learning scholarships, and staff retention efforts.

“We hear from employers, as well, that are childcare providers that they can’t find the staff they need,” Elena Foshay, director of Duluth Workforce Development, said. “I’ve had employers call me up crying, struggling because everything they’re trying isn’t working.”

Walz described his budget proposal as a long-term investment into Minnesota’s workforce.

Loni Stallsmith, the director of Early Childhood Development at the YWCA, said ages one through five are the most crucial times to make a lasting impact on someone’s life.

“It’s hard mental, physical, emotional, exhausting work, but we do it with smiles on our faces and with materials that we’ve often purchased from our own meager paychecks that we take home because we know that these kids and the work that we do is the most important work that there could be,” Stallsmith said.

With legislative progress being made in St. Paul, the governor is confident this childcare budget wish list is now a to-do list.

“The good news is, by the end of May, we should get this thing into place,” Walz said. “We should start tackling this, and it goes to the goal we set of Minnesota being the best place in the country to raise a family and to have a child.”

In addition to addressing the childcare shortage on the state level, Duluth Workforce Development is trying to launch an entry-level training course for daycare workers.

Click here to read more about the governor’s One Minnesota Budget for Kids and Families.