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Child care providers hope new federal grants will help Iowa combat shortage

Federal funding will go to building new child care facilities across the state at a time when more resources are desperately needed.

DES MOINES, Iowa — New federal funding will go to building child care facilities across the state, as some providers are still struggling to get up and running at a time when more facilities are desperately needed.

It's a problem Wes Foster, Director of the Highland Park Community Development Association, said he's been working on for six and a half years.

"We asked the community what's the need, and a lot of research, we found that there was a there's a huge lack of child care in this area."

Foster opened the doors of Precious Beginning's Children Center two weeks ago, and he says there's still a lot of work to be done.

"We're just waiting on more grants, and just more money is, essentially, before we can finish it up," he said.

The center recently received more than $500,000 from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and $10,000 from the Iowa Work Force Development

The pressing need for more childcare extends past the metro too. Cherie Cerveny says her rural community is also struggling with it.

"We had a study done of the child care need in our county, not just for the community of Jefferson, but in the entire Greene County area, and it showed that there was a great need for childcare that did not exist," Cerveny said.

The Jefferson County Early Learning Center is getting a brand new building that will increase its capacity by 50%, which will open up 70 new spots. 

Both of those new facilities are actively looking for staff, which can be especially challenging in rural areas. The Jefferson County Early Learning Center is looking for people who love working with kids and ideally have a two-year degree in child development.

Cerveny said the challenge arises when candidates with four-year degrees are attracted to work in metro where the pay can be higher.

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