The West Central Initiative Child Care Education Capacity grant program started accepting applications this week from non-profits and units of government to build, remodel and expand child care located in the nine-county region of WCI’s service area. The foundation’s Early Childhood Specialist, Marsha Erickson, told KMRS that the grant has been operating since 1986 helping to bring down overhead costs of child care facilities. New this year is additional $50,000 in funding from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, which also allows for some limited grants available for for-profit child care centers.

“Child care is essential,” said Erickson. “We hear horrible stories of many families who are seeking for child care, that are not taking the job because they can’t find child care, who are holding off having additional children because of child care. It’s a pivotal piece in our local economy.”

Grants may be issued for typical child care centers, family or home-based centers, or before/after-school and summer care centers. Erickson said she already knows of a couple of individual child care centers working on their grant applications. Those interested may contact Erickson at or call the WCI at 218-739-2239. Applications can also be downloaded on the website at


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