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GOED office names recipients of child care grants

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development, or GOED, has named the awardees for the Gov. Kristi Noem’s Investment Plan for Child Care.

In total, 13 recipients from both sides of the river were named.

The plan represents an investment of $3.7 million in the state’s childcare services, from Brookings to Rapid City and everywhere in between.

One recipient, Elevate Rapid City, said it’s an opportunity to make a difference in the current child care landscape. Laura Jones is the housing and community development manager at Elevate.

“We will be hosting some bootcamps in collaboration with SDCEO, which is the women’s business center, and Klein Visioneering Group to teach in-home providers or would-be child care providers about basics of getting started and the kind of things they need to watch out for," Jones said. "We’ll also be offering some grants to existing providers to maybe help them expand or improve safety.”

Jones said it’s difficult to quantify the need for child care services in the area concretely, but the need certainly does exist.

“We know that there are about 21,000 kids under the age of 12 in the metro area, but there are only about 8,000 licensed spots – and that includes after school and before school care – but we don’t really know how many unregistered providers there are out there providing care to the rest of those 10,000 kids who need to be cared for during the day while their parents are working,” Jones said.

This problem isn’t limited to urban areas, as rural communities have been hit just as hard by the chronic child care shortage in the state. Communities like Murdo, which was also an awardee. Ashley Geigel is director of the local economic development corp.

“We are a community that relies on the economic impact of sustainable workforce, and in order to create that opportunity for additional businesses to enter our community, we really looked at it as needing to provide that opportunity for the workforce to be covered and not worry about childcare during the day,” Geigel said.

The GOED office predicts this investment will provide 2,460 new child care slots and help retain nearly 600 existing slots statewide.

The complete list of recipients are as follows:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Brookings
  • Burke Business Promotion Council
  • City of Highmore
  • Elevate Rapid City
  • Grow Spink, Inc., Redfield
  • Lake Area Improvement Corporation, Madison
  • McIntosh Community Daycare
  • Mobridge Economic Development Corporation
  • Murdo Development Corporation
  • Pierre Economic Development Corporation
  • Platte Development Corporation
  • Sioux Falls Development Corporation
  • Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company
C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture