Earlier this year, Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce along with our partners and with assistance from First Children’s Finance surveyed Grinnell and the surrounding area on child care needs. This past Wednesday, June 20th, community members and business leaders met at Grinnell Mutual for an initial meeting to reveal the results this study.
According to a 2017 report from the Center for American Progress, Poweshiek County was declared a Childcare Desert. In an effort to address the situation, the childcare feasibility study commenced to better understand the child care needs in Grinnell. The study was guided by First Children’s Finance, a national non-profit organization with an office in Iowa which specializes in developing childcare feasibility studies and strategic plans. For the past six months, their team has been conducting surveys among Grinnell employers and current parents as well as future parents, analyzing the results of the surveys, and collecting general data.
First Children’s Finance shared eight key findings in Wednesday’s presentation:
First Children’s Finance recommended increasing the number of regulated spaces by 515 over a number of age groups (0 to 12) to meet the future demand of childcare in Grinnell, engaging local employers in the conversation, and implementing a steering committee to further address the childcare shortage.
The results of the feasibility study serve as a starting point as the community addresses options and solutions for childcare in Grinnell. A steering committee will meet next Tuesday, June 26 at 6pm to begin addressing next steps and will work to develop sub-committees who will tackle several issues pertaining to the future of childcare in Grinnell. Those interested in remaining, or becoming, involved in this process are encouraged to attend the steering committee meeting and can RSVP to Rachael Kinnick with the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce at firstname.lastname@example.org or Amy Blanchard with JMP Early Childhood Iowa at email@example.com.
The feasibility study was collectively funded by Brownell’s, Claude & Dolly Ahrens Foundation, City of Grinnell, Grinnell College, Grinnell Mutual, and Unity Point Health – Grinnell Regional Medical Center and has been administered by the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce, Poweshiek Iowa Developent, and JMP Early Childhood Iowa.
The completed feasibility study can be viewed and downloaded here.
Questions regarding the feasibility study and its process can be directed to Kinnick at the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce at 236-6555 or Blanchard at JMP ECI at 236-5518.