I hope you and your family have been having an enjoyable summer and have had ample opportunity to take advantage of all our state has to offer this time of year. Here’s an update from the State Capitol.
A lack of affordable child care – particularly in greater Minnesota – holds families, businesses, and entire communities back from reaching their potential success. In the 2021 legislative session, I was proud to champion a historic $8 million package of new investments in child care over two years to expand child care opportunities. One initiative in this package was the Child Care Economic Development Grant Program, and the latest round of applications opened today. These grants are designed to support community partners in their efforts to increase quality child care providers to support economic development across Minnesota.
The Department of Employment and Economic Development is seeking proposals from local governments or nonprofits with experience in the operations, financing, advocacy, or advancement of the delivery of child care services. Individual child care providers seeking funds to establish new operations or expand existing operations are encouraged to partner on their funding request with local or regional organizations.
Up to $300,000 is available for child care startups or expansions, training, facility modifications, incentives to retain employees, or improvements required for licensing. To learn more, a webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, July 26 at 11 a.m.
Here’s a reminder that this Friday, July 22, is the deadline for frontline workers to apply for bonus pay. This past legislative session, lawmakers agreed to invest $500 million worth of bonus pay for those who couldn’t work from home during the darkest days of the pandemic, and in doing so, put their own health at greater risk. Health care workers, first responders, child care providers, food service and retail workers, and more are eligible.
Learn more and apply at frontlinepay.mn.gov.
Mental health crises – and tragically, suicide – are becoming a greater public health concern. This past Saturday, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline transitioned to a new service with an easier-to-remember number to help those in need. Now, by dialing or texting 988, a trained mental health counselor is available 24 hours a day, seven days per week if you or someone close to you is experiencing a crisis. Traditional approaches in response to 911 calls aren’t always best equipped to respond to mental health crises, and the new number will help ensure people can quickly get support.
Workers can connect callers to additional support or in-person care. The service is free and confidential.
Due to state law prohibiting e-mails like these in an election period, this will be my final newsletter this summer. While I can no longer send these updates, I encourage you to keep in touch with me with your input, ideas, or if I can ever be of assistance. I’m deeply honored to represent you and our Duluth neighbors.