Klobuchar, Smith, Stauber Secure Significant Federal Funding to Strengthen Affordable Childcare Access, Support Workforce in Little Falls

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) and Representative Pete Stauber (R-MN) announced that they have secured $1.5 million in federal funding to strengthen access to affordable childcare and support parents in Little Falls returning back to work.

Specifically, the funding will enable the construction of a childcare facility designed specifically to address the increasing community need for affordable, reliable childcare. Building such a facility will directly boost workforce participation in Little Falls, as lack of access to dependable, high-quality childcare has long been a primary barrier for parents in Little Falls who seek to enter the workforce. 

“For far too many parents in Little Falls and across our state, the struggle to find high-quality, affordable childcare serves as a barrier preventing them from reentering the workforce,” said Klobuchar. “By addressing the need for childcare in Little Falls, this funding is a true win-win – helping parents join the workforce while providing their children with the foundational care they need. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues and with leaders in Little Falls to secure these resources and support Little Falls families.” 

“Creating greater access to reliable, affordable, quality childcare is crucial for allowing parents to get to work and fostering the development of our youngest Minnesotans,” said Smith. “Lack of access to affordable childcare is one of the most significant barriers for parents in the workforce, especially in rural Minnesota. The funding of this project will allow local childcare providers the freedom to get established at no cost during the early years of operation, making the future of childcare in Little Falls more sustainable and reliable for everyone.”

“Having access to childcare facilities in our rural communities helps parents join the workforce more easily,” said Stauber. “I’m proud to have fought for this funding to support working families and the local economy in Little Falls.”

“For years, we’ve seen that access to reliable, affordable, quality childcare is a main barrier for parents in Little Falls seeking to enter the workforce,” said Jon Radermacher, Little Falls City Administrator. “Thanks to Senators Klobuchar and Smith, we now have the resources to create a childcare facility to address the growing need for child care in the community. This will benefit countless families and the regional economy.”

Klobuchar has long been a leader in the fight to secure affordable childcare and help parents re-enter the workforce should they desire to. Klobuchar leads the bipartisan Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act with Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), which would provide grants to support the education, training, and retention of the childcare workforce, as well as the building, renovating, and expanding childcare facilities in areas with childcare shortages, including rural areas. Last March, Klobuchar led the bicameral Marshall Plan for Moms Resolution to support mothers as they reenter the workforce. In June 2020, Klobuchar, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Stauber introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to prevent families from losing funds for childcare services that go unused because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since coming to the Senate, Smith has led efforts to make childcare more affordable and accessible. During the pandemic, Senator Smith led the successful push for $50 billion in funding to shore up the nation’s childcare system during the pandemic and help providers and families deal with childcare needs. She has also introduced a number of bills to improve access to childcare including the Child Care Supply Improvement Act, which would provide assistance for childcare facilities, support childcare providers, and support childcare businesses.

Klobuchar and Smith have been actively involved in securing this federal funding for projects benefiting communities in Minnesota through a process called “Congressionally Directed Spending” (CDS). During the CDS process, Klobuchar and Smith have considered project proposals and advocated for funding in close coordination with leaders from across Minnesota.

Projects are expected to receive funding over the next several months.