Application due April 30 for the Rural Child Care Innovation Program

(Information below provided by First Children’s Finance)

Child care is an economic driver for rural communities across the United States but many communities are facing shortages of high quality child care. While many communities have child care shortages, only some are ready to roll up their sleeves and embark on the journey to address this critical community issue.  Preference will be given to communities who demonstrate commitment to the community engagement process over an 18-24 month period.

Through generous funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, First Children’s Finance is pleased to offer the Rural Child Care Innovation Program, an innovative community engagement process designed to address the challenges of child care in rural America.

Rural Child Care Innovation Program
Applications due April 30th at 5:00 pm
Click here to apply 

For More Information:
RCCIP website: www.ruralchildcare.org
Click  here to listen to the webinar

Child care bill gains steam

GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman and SMIF President Tim Penny met with Sen. Erik Simonson and other legislators to discuss the need for more child care options in Greater Minnesota.

GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman and SMIF President Tim Penny met with Sen. Erik Simonson and other legislators to discuss the need for more child care options in Greater Minnesota.

The CGMC- and GMNP-supported HF 2424, authored by Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont), received a hearing in the House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee last week. This bill would provide a total of $1.5 million to the six state Initiative Foundations to help facilitate planning, professional development and business training primarily for in-home child care providers. Child care centers are not excluded from the bill, but most of those who will receive training will be in-home providers.

The funding is based on a program developed by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) in Owatonna. SMIF partners with Child Care Aware, First Children’s Finance and others to deliver no-cost programming in order to build capacity and help providers improve their Parent Aware star rating which will increase the reimbursement amount for providers. SMIF has provided training to more than 500 people in the last four years. The training is held at multiple locations in their service territory, with much of it occurring on weekends and nights in order to accommodate more providers.

If the bill is successful, it will allow SMIF and the other foundations to offer this much-needed assistance all across Greater Minnesota.

SMIF President (and GMNP board member) Tim Penny and Southwest Initiative Foundation Vice President Scott Marquardt did an excellent job testifying in support of the bill at the committee hearing, where the bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the House omnibus jobs bill.

If you have any questions about this bill or other child care initiatives that the CGMC and GMNP are pursuing, please contact GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman at

 

BDPI bill gets warm reception in House committee

On Wednesday, the House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee heard HF 3714, a bill to add $3 million in annual funding to the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) Grant Program. The bill is chief authored by Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont).

Melrose City Administrator Michael Brethorst testified on behalf of the GMNP and our sister organization, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC). Like many other cities that have received these grants, Melrose has a great story to tell. With the BDPI grant it received in 2016, the city was able to make improvements to support the retention of hundreds of jobs.

The bill received positive comments from legislators from both parties and from different areas of the state. It was laid over for possible inclusion in the House omnibus jobs bill.

The GMNP and CGMC are also seeking $20 million in bonding for the BDPI program under a separate bill, SF 2558/HF 3098.

Bill to provide funding for Greater Minnesota child care centers advances

Jeff Andrews of First Children's Finance, Luverne EDA Director Holly Sammons and bill author Rep. Bob Gunther testified in support of the bill.

Jeff Andrews of First Children’s Finance, Luverne EDA Director Holly Sammons and bill author Rep. Bob Gunther testified in support of the bill.

HF 4032 (authored by Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont) was heard in the House Health & Human Services Reform Committee last week. Joining Rep. Gunther to testify in support of the bill were Luverne Economic Development Director Holly Sammons, First Children’s Finance Business Development Director Jeff Andrews, former State Rep. Loren Solberg and Greater Minnesota Partnership (GMNP) Executive Director Dan Dorman.

Patterned after the very successful Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) grant program, HF 4032 would provide matching grants of up to $500,000 to local units of government to build, renovate or expand child care centers to increase the number of child care slots in their communities. Like the BDPI program, the funds would come from the bonding bill, which requires the funds to flow to a local unit of government. The bill seeks $5 million for this new program.

The legislation was well-received by the committee, with many legislators speaking in favor of it. It now moves on to its next stop, the Capital Investment Committee. The companion bill, SF 3578 (authored by Sen. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley), is currently awaiting a hearing in the Senate Capital Investment Committee.

GMNP supports bills that aim to help fix Greater Minnesota’s child care shortage

Over the past few months, the Greater Minnesota Partnership has been gathering information and working with other organizations and legislators to find ways to fix the child care shortage in Greater Minnesota. While there is still much more work to be done over the coming years, the GMNP is advocating for three bills this session that address this critical economic development issue:

  • HF2424 / SF2090 – Provides $1.5 million to DEED for grants awarded to Initiative Foundations for the planning, coordination, training, and education necessary to expand child care access.
  • HF3605/SF 3316 – Provides $519,000 to DEED for the Minnesota Child Care Grant Program, which aims to increase the supply of child care providers to support economic development.
  • HF 4032/SF 3578 – Appropriates $5 million in bonding and $5 million from the general fund to provide grants to local governments and non-profits in Greater Minnesota to help cover up to 50 percent of the costs to build, upgrade or expand child care facilities.

We also want to share our most recent child care handout, which we have begun to use when meeting with legislators and others to discuss this issue. Continue reading

GMNP welcomes new board members!

The GMNP is excited to welcome three new members to our Board of Directors: Anne Blackhurst, Terry Gaalswyk and Anna Wasescha. The bring extensive knowledge and experience with high education and economic development issues, and we look forward to working with them to develop policies and programs that will help Greater Minnesota communities and businesses grow.

Here is more information about our newest board members:

Dr. Anne Blackhurst has more than 30 years of higher education experience in small liberal arts colleges, mid-size comprehensive public universities, and a large research-intensive institution, including 10 years of successful experience in academic leadership roles. Continue reading

GMNP members invited to attend Legislative Action Day on March 14

The GMNP’s sister organization, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC), is holding its annual Legislative Action Day on Wednesday, March 14 in St. Paul. All GMNP members are invited to participate. This day-long lobbying event is a great opportunity to learn more about legislative issues affecting Greater Minnesota and advocate for economic development priorities at the Capitol.

The day will kick off at the Best Western Capitol Ridge with a brief legislative update in the morning followed by lunch featuring a panel discussion featuring Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman. Attendees will then spend the afternoon meeting with their legislators at the House and Senate offices (members should make their own appointments for meetings with legislators between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. that day). The  event concludes with a legislative reception and dinner at Mancini’s Char House & Lounge. More information about the agenda and venues can be found here.

To register, please fill out the online form at greatermncities.org/lad2018/. The deadline to register is Feb. 28.

If you have any questions about Legislative Action Day, please contact Julie Liew at jlliew@flaherty-hood.com.

Senate Committee to learn about BDPI grant program successes

The Senate Capital Investment Committee will be “on the road” next week in southeastern Minnesota. On Monday, they will head to Claremont to visit the Al-Corn Clean Fuel ethanol plant where GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman has been invited by the committee to present information on the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) Grant Program. The city of Claremont received a $500,000 grant from the BDPI program in 2016, which in part helped expand the Al-Corn facility.

This session, the GMNP is seeking $20 million in bonding for the BDPI program. Since its inception in 2003, the BDPI program has awarded millions of dollars in grants to more than 200 Greater Minnesota communities to help them pay for public infrastructure needed to promote private business growth. For more information, please read this information sheet on BDPI.

Article shines light on Greater Minnesota communities’ legislative priorities

A MinnPost article published this week about rural priorities for the upcoming legislative session highlights many of the legislative goals for the GMNP and our sister organization, the the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC), including the need for more Local Government Aid funding, a robust bonding bill, city-street funding, workforce housing and solutions to Greater Minnesota’s child care shortage.

CGMC Executive Director Bradley Peterson and GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman were both interviewed for the article and shared information they have been hearing from city and business leaders about the top issues impacting Greater Minnesota communities. As the article notes, some progress was made during the 2017 legislative session in the areas of LGA, water infrastructure funding and transportation. However, as Peterson and Dorman emphasized, the Legislature and Gov. Dayton still have a lot of work to do in 2018 to continue to build on those modest successes and keep Greater Minnesota communities strong.

Apply now for a BDPI grant

Does your community have a business looking to expand? Is a new business considering locating in your area? If so, you may want to apply for a grant under the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) Grant Program.

The BDPI program provides up to 50 percent of the cost of the public infrastructure needed to expand existing businesses or accommodate new ones. In the past, for example, cities have used these funds to build infrastructure for industrial parks, upgrade utilities to allow a business to expand, or build street infrastructure to accommodate a new business. The bonding bill passed last session included $12 million for the program, so there are currently funds available.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) accepts applications for BDPI grants on an open basis. Click here to find eligibility requirements and application materials.