Iron Range childcare access expanded with secured federal funds

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Sen. Tina Smith attended a roundtable discussion with United Way of Northeastern Minnesota to build two new childcare facilities. The two new facilities will be in Ely and Chisholm, construction will begin in the Spring of 2023.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Tina Smith were able to secure over a million dollars for childcare access in the Iron Range. “Something like 20,000 child care spots have been lost in Minnesota over the last 20 years. And it has a big impact on families, particularly women, being able to return to work after the pandemic. People driving miles and miles and miles to get their kids to a safe spot.” Sen. Smith said.

When it comes to childcare access there is monumental growth providing education to children early on. “When you have the little ones in the preschool who are then ready for pre-K, who are then ready for kindergarten, they’ve had a safe, nurturing environment that if they have developmental issues, they’re identified early. Then they get the building blocks for reading and also the social emotional skills to be able to function in a classroom.” Sen. Smith said.

Executive Director of United Way of Northeastern Minnesota Erin Shay, says those early learning building blocks in childcare set the foundation for successful futures. “It’s providing the opportunity to go to work. And I think one of our main focuses is the United Way, too, is just the quality behind the child care and making sure kids have a safe place to be.” Shay said. There are two other facilities expanding their childcare services in both Hibbing and International Falls.

For more information on childcare programs offered by United Way of Northeastern Minnesota you can look here

For another story about childcare you can look here