Website offers enhanced resources for North Dakota childcare providers
DICKINSON – Aspiring childcare providers can jumpstart their businesses through a new website facilitated by The Strom Center at Dickinson State University.
Scheduled for roll-out the end of July, the site will link licensed and unlicensed daycare centers with easy step-by-step access to start-up resources offered by county, said Ray Ann Kilen, regional director of the North Dakota Small Business Development Center and interim director of The Strom Center.
“Our goal is to enhance the viability of placing more daycare centers in the area,” she explained. “There are huge numbers of working two- and single-parent families coming to our area. With a robust economy and fewer child-care spots, the lack of available childcare is becoming a huge issue.”
North Dakota’s population is expected to grow 25 percent by 2025. As some western cities show projected population increases ranging anywhere from 30 to 137 percent, the region is expected to accommodate an estimated 21,000 more children. Kilen said this explosive growth will require more than 1,000 new daycare centers and a workforce estimated at nearly 4,000 people.
“The lack of childcare was one of the top three quality of life topics discussed at community meetings by leaders and volunteers,” said Kilen.
The Strom Center partnered with the Vision West North Dakota project, a consortium of 28 community leaders covering the 19 rapidly expanding oil and gas producing counties in western North Dakota. After a series of meetings, the group envisioned a one-stop web portal in which home day care and other providers could learn essential steps such as licensing, continuing education, compliance, organizational effectiveness, programming and successful business management.
Renee Townsend, a small business development center business advisor at The Strom Center, developed the portal after interviews with county social service agents, health and fire inspectors and other experts. A new resident to North Dakota, Townsend said the project helped her understand the need for simple information paired to the passion of childcare workers.
“We wanted to present this information in an uncluttered, understandable way while encouraging people to open a childcare facility in their community,” said Townsend. “Providers want to take care of children.”
Organizers have already rolled out the website for review by local service agencies, Vision West members and childcare licensures in Minot, Williston and Dickinson. Once final tweaks are made, the site will go live by the end of July.
For more information, contact Kilen at The Strom Center at (701) 483-2576.