Wednesday, May 29th, 2024 Church Directory

City of Becker needs community input for childcare solutions

Citing the inextricable link between childcare availability and local economic development, the City of Becker has been studying solutions that could be key factors in addressing both issues.

The initiative came about as a result of a competitive process that led to Becker being awarded the chance to participate in the Rural Child Care Innovation Program (RCCIP).

The program, administered through First Families Finance, helps municipalities to identify key components of childcare availability and its impact on jobs and economic development.

Basically, the formula breaks down to the fact that if childcare is not available, then workers are not able to go to their jobs and there is a cumulative negative effect on the local economy.

“The process is a 24 month commitment, with collecting data and turning that into an action plan,” says Becker Economic Development Coordinator Nicole Smude.  “This will help us to define what our community needs are and the data will help us decide upon next steps.”

In the past several months, a Core Team of volunteers has been meeting to get the program up and running.  Some key next steps include a Provider Appreciation Dinner to be held on April 18 at Pebble Creek, as well as several public surveys that the city is asking residents and businesses to complete.  These will close at midnight on April 21, and can be found on the City of Becker website.

“It is important to gather input from the residents and business owners to effectively devise a plan specifically tailored to the childcare needs of Becker,” Smude says.

The provider dinner will be a key because it will produce valuable data as to the challenges that current providers see in the field.  The online surveys will help to garner feedback from the entire community as to the trends and future needs for childcare.

Becker’s Community Development Director Jacob Sanders sees the process as a key link between what is happening now and what will happen at the end of the study.

“The provider’s event shows how much we appreciate what they are currently doing in our community,” Sanders says.  “This front end work that we are doing through the discovery process is very important to the recommendations and final outcome.”

Both Smude and Sanders reiterated the importance of community input and feedback, as it will be the key to making sure the team’s solutions are able to make an impact on the local economy.

“We are trying hard to figure out the best solutions to the childcare issue,” Smude says.  “We are also hoping businesses will participate in the surveys because their input is extremely valuable.”

By collecting as much data as possible through the surveys, the Core Team will have more information to consider as they progress thorough the program.

Once the survey information is collected, the information will be processed and shared at a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, May 20 at 5:30 p.m. at Pebble Creek.  People are asked to RSVP for that event by May 13.

“Childcare is the main component for a strong, economically vibrant community,” Smude concludes.  “Working parents and employers rely on quality abundant childcare to keep the local economy moving and growing.”