St. Lawrence County IDA looking to expand local childcare options


CANTON — The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency is in early talks with several local groups trying to expand childcare options as a means of local workforce development.

IDA Chief Executive Officer Patrick J. Kelly told the IDA board on Tuesday morning that the groups include the St. Lawrence County Childcare Council and workforce development agencies through SUNY Canton. In addition to possibly creating new businesses, the expansion could aid with making sure people in or returning to the workforce have adequate childcare options.

“As we work with a number of different stakeholders and working groups, one of which is focused on workforce development, one of the issues related to the workforce is childcare,” Mr. Kelly said. “Around the county and locally, there’s certainly interest in making sure there are enough childcare options.”

He said the groups are looking into ways to offer training to make it easier for people to create licensed daycare businesses.

The IDA would not do the training, but has been suggested a conduit to possibly administer state or federal grants to carry out the training.

“There are different funding sources and streams through the various federal programs, some state programs trying to address a number of different issues ... as different opportunities arise, where can we participate, how can we participate, would there be a role for us?” Mr. Kelly said. “There is a need for someone to administer the funds and allocate the funds among the different purposes and uses, and they’ve asked if that were a role we could play if funding were available.”

He told the board that there is a local precedent.

“There are similar programs that were implemented in Jefferson and Lewis County,” he said.

Mr. Kelly added that his discussion with the IDA board was to inform them of the proposal, which he said is in very early stages.

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