"The needs there are enormous," Penny said at the meeting. "We know the shortage is a huge issue, and for that reason, we've partnered with a couple of other organizations to address this."
One of the ways SMIF is helping to meet the growing demand for child care is through a partnership with AmericCorps. With this program, recent college students are hired to work in the early child care industry. Book distribution programs also serve as a vital resource in early childhood development.
According to the SMIF president, Pre-K grants to school districts such as United South Central, as well as early childhood provider training within Faribault County, have also aided in the organization's effort to address the need for increased child care in the area.
"In Blue Earth, I think you have enough resources to take care of your child care needs, but that is the exception to the rest of the county," he continued.
With the goal of addressing local child care needs, SMIF, in a partnership with First Children's Finance and Families First of Minnesota, will be organizing a July 31 meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott in Mankato.
The meeting, which will be held from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., is open to anyone within SMIF's 20-county region. Penny indicated variables such as population density will have an impact on each town's individual child care needs.
SMIF is responsible for investing $5 million annually into the south central and south eastern area of Minnesota.
Other items from the meeting included:
The board passed two motions approving change orders for the exterior courthouse building project. While the southeast tower roof repair will total $103,687.50, the south flat roof replacement will cost $7,297.50.
A petition for repair of County Ditch 55 was accepted by the County Board.
The board also passed a motion to authorize the purchase of a camera scanner program for the recorder's office. A fee of 75 cents per page to use the camera scanner program was also approved by the board.