Childcare shortage impacts southern Minnesota families, economy

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — A childcare shortage continues to pose challenges to southern Minnesota families.

“There’s about 500 to 800 childcare slots that we’re short in Blue Earth and Nicollet County. From what we’re understanding, the shortage of slots is going up,” stated Ryan Vesey, economic development specialist at Greater Mankato Growth.

Cultivate Mankato said there was already a need for more centers before COVID-19 shutdowns began. Director Candice Deal-Bartell mentioned, “The issues facing the childcare industry aren’t new. With COVID-19, obviously, a lot of it has been coming to the surface.”

Are you in the process of finding infant care? Check out our new Infant Development Center opening in 2022. Being a...

Posted by Cultivate Mankato on Thursday, October 14, 2021

50% of Cultivate’s children and employees left during the pandemic. Now, as life returns to normal, families are needing care once again.

“We still had to have staff ready to come back to do the job when families were ready to come back,” added Deal-Bartell.

Centers, like Cultivate, are struggling to replenish their staff to meet the growing demand, and it’s pushing prices higher.

Many families have relocated to avoid the unaffordable rates, and some parents have quit their jobs to care for their children.

Vesey explained, “Childcare is an economic development issue. When we don’t have people in the workforce, that has a negative impact on the economy.”

An important message for the Mankato Community. Click the link below to watch, or you can read the message here:

Posted by Cultivate Mankato on Monday, October 18, 2021

Cultivate said it will take a community effort to improve.

“Getting people, businesses involved and coming up with creative solutions to meet the needs of their people so they can get to work and have a benefit of childcare,” stated Deal-Bartell.

In addition to Cultivate Mankato, Little Lakers Child Care Center, which reopened last week at its new Lake Crystal facility, currently has immediate openings. Parents interested in learning more about the child care facility there can contact staff at (507) 726-2031 or by sending an email to

We are so excited to officially be open and have little ones running around the new space! We currently have openings for all ages.

Posted by Little Lakers Child Care Center on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

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