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SDC offers matching funds for local daycares

Access to child care options is a serious need in Stark County.

To help, Stark Development Corporation's Child Care Program provides matching funds to care centers to increase the available and quality of local child care offerings.

The program is part of the SDC's ongoing efforts to remain responsive to the needs of the community, Ryan Jilek, SDC executive vice president, said.

"Almost any group we talk to, one of their challenges is finding adequate daycare for their employees," Jilek said. "So we put together a program to help address that and hopefully spark some interest in opening daycare centers and group facilities for the community."

The program provides a matching grant of $1,000 per child, based on the center's capacity.

"When you license a daycare, you license it by capacity," Jilek explained.

One local care center, TaylorTots, based in Taylor, has already benefited from the program.

"They expanded their capacity up to 12 kids, so they got a $12,000 grant from us," Jilek said.

Lack of access to child care options is a real problem, Jilek said.

"We've made some good progress, but we still have a lot of work to do," he said. "I was at (Dickinson State University) last week and that was one of the questions that came up among their faculty and student population, that daycare was a concern for them."

When parents and guardians have access to child care is also a problem.

"As some of our businesses transition to shifts, eight-to-five daycare isn't as much of a problem as it used to be," Jilek said, "but it's some of those odd hours where it gets to be weird."

SDC Child Care Program funds up to $1,000 per child are available as a dollar-for-dollar match, not to exceed $30,000 for a group and $100,000 for a center.

Funds are granted based on availability, and overall cannot exceed $100,000.

Projects must begin within six months of approval of the funds and be completed within 12 months of approval.

The interest-free loan is prorated and forgiven over the course of five years, contingent upon completion of the project.

Jilek described the program as unique among the types of assistance and resources offered by SDC to the community.

"We typically help build business and industry," he said. "When it comes to offering incentives to child care providers, it's a new twist on our normal mission, but it's a need that fills that gap between workforce and family and the community."

For more information, contact Stark Development Corporation, 314 Third Ave. W., at 225-5997 or by email at team@starkdev.com.

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