Iowa State Bank Invests in Child Care Center


FAIRFIELD, IOWA (May 20, 2020) Iowa State Bank of Fairfield has pledged $60,000 to Jefferson County Kids future child care center, bringing the funds raised to $2.6 of the $3.5 million goal. The new facility will be built in Fairfield and will have a capacity of 185 child care spaces, infant to 12 years old.

Aaron Kness, President and CEO of Iowa State Bank, said, “Iowa State Bank recognizes the tremendous value a child care facility provides to the community. We can’t attract and retain young families without sufficient child care spaces. This project is as important as anything else we’ve supported in the past.”

A 2018 Jefferson County Child Care Market Study identified a deficit of over 500 child care spaces in the county, which included a need for 137 infant spaces. Kness further stated, “After my wife, Terri, and I moved here in 2007 to start a family, we became very concerned about finding child care. Thankfully, we were able to send our boys to an amazing in-home provider, but many parents are not as fortunate. Every family deserves quality child care. It should not depend on luck or good timing.”

The project has received national attention for its innovative public-private partnership approach; by partnering with the business community to bring a solution to reduce the shortage and add spaces.

“We want to thank Iowa State Bank for their generous contribution to Jefferson County Kids’ capital campaign. This is an extremely important project for our community, and we appreciate outstanding business leaders like Iowa State Bank, who support the growth of Fairfield and Jefferson County,” said Kate Van Pelt, Jefferson County Kids Board Treasurer and Secretary. Those interested in participating in the capital campaign should contact Joshua Laraby, Co-Project Manager for Jefferson County Kids.

Jefferson County Kids, Inc. is 501(c)(3) tax-deductible and a charitable non-profit corporation.

Media Contacts
Joshua Laraby, Executive Director                                       Aaron Kness
Fairfield Economic Development Association                   Iowa State Bank & Trust Co.
641-472-3436                                                                            641-472-3161                            

Capital Campaign Contact
Joshua Laraby, Executive Director
Fairfield Economic Development Association

Child Care Advocates Join Together to Celebrate Provider Appreciation Day- May 8, 2020

Quality Child Care – A Priceless Commodity that Deserves Recognition

Fairfield, Iowa – The Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee is proud to partner with Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa and the Fairfield Economic Development Association in recognizing child care providers/early educators for Child Care Provider Appreciation Day.

This year we celebrate Child Care Provider Appreciation Day on May 8th to honor child care providers across the county for the extraordinary work they do. This special day is intended to recognize all those who nurture, teach, and care for children in multiple settings across the country. Child care settings include school- and community-based preschools, Head Start programs, child care centers, and homes.

National Provider Appreciation Day® was started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey. This group saw the need to recognize the tireless efforts of providers who care for children of working parents. Each year, due to increased momentum and support, recognition has expanded to include individual and government organizations throughout the United States. A proclamation is signed each year by many of the state governors.

Although Child Care Provider Appreciation Day is recognized every year in May on the Friday before Mother’s Day, it is important that we show our appreciation year-round for individuals who serve an important role in providing high-quality child care. Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Board Member Dee Sandquist, “we know that nurturing and responsive early care and education provides a solid foundation for children’s ongoing success.” Research indicates that there is a direct link between caregiver training and quality of care, so to achieve a high quality of care, child care providers must receive suitable training and compensation.

Less than one-third of the children in America have a full-time stay-at-home parent. The child care provider is a partner in raising one’s children. Parents carefully choose their child care provider. It may be a private home daycare, a daycare center, an in-home provider, or a live-in nanny. They put their trust in them as they share the child-rearing responsibilities with them.

Child care providers work very long days, and often are not compensated well. During the current COVID-19 crisis, providers are working extra hard following new guidelines for sanitation and social distancing, while also facing the increased risk of exposure. Please make sure to let your provider know how much you appreciate all they do for your child and family. “COVID-19 has shown us that child care providers are important infrastructure in our communities,” Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Director.


There are many ways to thank your provider and show your appreciation. Here are a few ideas:

• Have your child make them a special card or a poster
• Drop off breakfast or lunch
• Give a gift card
• Bring a special treat
• Write a nice note

Please remember to utilize social distancing when thanking child care providers.

Media Contact:

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson

Cambridge, TrafFix Devices Make Major Contributions To New Child Care Center

Jefferson County Kids, Inc. Kicks Off $3.5M Capital Campaign

This is an artist rendering of what the New Jefferson County Kids Inc. Child Care Center could look like. The design is in its beginning stages and is subject to change.

FAIRFIELD, IOWA (January 30, 2020) – Two Fairfield employers, Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. and TrafFix Devices, Inc. pledged major contributions to Jefferson County Kids Inc’s, future child care center. Cambridge pledged $1.25 million and TrafFix Devices pledged $500,000, as the Jefferson County Kids (JCK) Board of Directors launches its $3.5 million capital campaign.

“Cambridge is pleased to support the Jefferson County Kids Inc., Board of Directors to build this new childcare center in the local area where many of our associates live with their families,” said Amy Webber, Cambridge’s President and CEO. Webber continued, “Our funding pledge of $1.25 million towards this project reflects our continuing commitment to our associates as well as their families. We continually seek feedback, and a childcare solution has been a top request from our associates for some time, and we believe the new child care center will enhance local community amenities for our existing associates and employees of other area businesses while attracting and retaining new talent to the local area.”

Jack Kulp, Founder and President of TrafFix Devices, stated, “Our $500,000 pledge over the next five years to increase the capacity for child care in Fairfield is a sound business decision to invest in our employees we currently have and those we will be hiring in the future.” Kulp added, “we will be able to attract more quality workers to manufacture our products. We are very pleased to be partners with Jefferson County Kids and FEDA in developing this child care facility for Fairfield. We encourage other Fairfield employers to match our contribution.”

Campaign funds will be used to construct a 14,000 square foot child care center in Fairfield, and will serve up to 185 children. Last month, Jefferson County Health Center donated 3.5-acres west of its campus for the development. These two major pledges are just half of what is needed to complete the project. The JCK Board of Directors aims to have the project fully funded by March 31, 2020.

Terri Kness, JCK Board member, said, “We are so thankful for our business leaders stepping up to help make this child care center a reality. We thank Cambridge and TrafFix Devices for being leading donors. Fulfilling our remaining fundraising goal within the first quarter of the year is essential in making this center a reality for a late summer 2021 opening date. The longer it takes to reach our goal, the later construction will start, and we see the need in the community for this center immediately.”

In 2018, a child care market study identified a shortage of over 500 child care spaces in Jefferson County. In response, the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee (JCCC) created a plan to address the need, by first assisting existing child care centers to grow through expansion grants, and secondly, by recruiting and retaining home-based child care businesses with incentive programs. Adding this child care center will help further reduce the shortage.

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa (ECI), Director and Co-Project Manager for JCK, said, “The vitality of a community depends on its infrastructure. Child care is infrastructure. It is as important as water, sewer, utilities, and roads are to building a sustainable community.”

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association and Co-Project Manager for Jefferson County Kids said, “We’re thankful for and empowered by the funding commitments from Cambridge and TrafFix Devices. The addition of this center will position Fairfield for further growth. That’s the goal.” Businesses and individuals interested in participating in the capital campaign should contact Laraby.

Jefferson County Kids, Inc. is led by the following Board of Directors:
Bryan Hunger, CEO of Jefferson County Health Center and President of Jefferson County Kids, Inc Board; Teri Bockting, Vice President of Human Resources at Cambridge and Vice President of Jefferson County Kids, Inc.; Kate Van Pelt, Owner of Chickadee and Secretary/Treasurer of Jefferson County Kids, Inc.; Todd Reifsteck, Human Resources Director, Dexter Laundry; Terri Kness, Realtor at Davis and Palmer Real Estate.

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa, Director and Joshua Laraby Executive Director of Fairfield Economic Development Association are project managers for the development.

Jefferson County Kids is an independent non-profit corporation which will own and operate the center.

Media & Capital Campaign Contact:
Joshua Laraby, Executive Director
Fairfield Economic Development Association

FEDA Announces Plans for New Child Care Center in Fairfield

FAIRFIELD, IOWA (November 4, 2019) – FEDA announced today plans to construct and open a new child care center in Fairfield, to expand a much-needed service to working parents in the community. The center will be owned and operated by Jefferson County Kids, Inc., a local nonprofit corporation. Although its design is in the beginning stages, the new facility is slated to be nearly 14,000 sq. ft. and will be licensed to offer between 150 and 200 child care spaces.

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association, and Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Director for Early Childhood Iowa for Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Counties, are Project Managers for the development.

Laraby stated, “After reviewing the strengths and challenges of new construction versus renovating existing facilities, with the help of a comprehensive assessment conducted by Levi Architecture of Cedar Falls, Iowa, the decision was made to construct a new facility.”

In partnership with Levi Architecture, an in-depth analysis of existing local buildings was conducted prior to deciding on constructing a new facility. Projected renovation costs came in much higher than initially expected. To ensure the most efficient use of space and ongoing annual expenses, the Jefferson County Kids, Inc. Board of Directors determined new construction was the best option.

Fairfield was identified as the preferred location in Jefferson County for such a child care center, after a market study was completed in 2018. The study reported a deficit of over 500 child care spaces in the community. “It’s imperative we move forward to add another child care center. The need for access to available, quality and affordable child care is no longer solely a parent issue, it’s a business issue, a workforce issue, and an infrastructure issue. This is an opportunity to attract and retain workforce and to grow our community,” Laraby said. An assessment of viable sites is in process. Fundraising efforts will commence in January, with construction slated to start late Spring.

Joshua Laraby with Fairfield Economic Development Association and Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson with Early Childhood Iowa for Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Counties facilitated assembling the board of directors for the new child care center. The Jefferson County Kids, Inc. Board of Directors consists of the following community leaders: Bryan Hunger, CEO of Jefferson County Health Center and President of Jefferson County Kids, Inc Board; Teri Bockting, Vice President of Human Resources at Cambridge and Vice President of Jefferson County Kids, Inc.; Kate Van Pelt, Owner of Chickadee and Secretary/Treasurer of Jefferson County Kids, Inc.; Todd Reifsteck, Human Resources Director, Dexter Laundry; Terri Kness, Realtor at Davis and Palmer Real Estate.

Media Contact:
Joshua Laraby



Fairfield CoLab Has A Office Membership Available & Growing

The Fairfield CoLab has an awesome membership available for a private office space available that’s connected to the collaborative open workspace.

Those who are entrepreneurs at the deepest level, absolutely need that platform that supports their creativity, productivity, and connectivity.  Some people don’t understand entrepreneurship and think entrepreneurs are just “those people” who don’t want to clock-in and clock-out at a job. Although that part may be true, entrepreneurs love to problem solve and manufacture solutions for things that the rest of us encounter in our daily lives. One thing we know for sure is that running your own business and being an entrepreneur can be isolating at times, even if you have a team around you. What’s important is having a community that understands and has the ability to collaborate who those who get it! We all know that No-Successful-CEO has ever done it alone! The Fairfield CoLab provides a shared workspace, with a community of entrepreneurs that support each other in both their growth opportunities and growth hurdles.

Everything is included in your membership – 24/7 access, unlimited free coffee & a collaborative community when you need that network.

The Fairfield CoLab provides a centralized affordable location for individuals and entrepreneurs to conduct and grow their business. While the space provides basic physical amenities such as a workspace, high-speed internet access, a conference room, and printing resources, it’s also designed to encourage collaboration among similarly minded individuals and entrepreneurs.

CoLab members have access to a variety of financial and business development services through partnerships with Indian Hills Community College, Fairfield Economic Development Association, banks, private investors and the Bonnell Project. The space is also designed to host community events such as an annual business pitch, tech meetups, educational speakers, and business plan writing seminars.

*The Fairfield Colab Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
107 1/2 South Main Street
Fairfield, Iowa 52556

(641) 569-8939
Please leave a message if you are interested in membership!


Fairfield Economic Development Association is partnering with Iowa Workforce Development and Iowa Economic Development Authority to complete a Laborshed employment study for the Fairfield area. This study will geographically define which communities contribute to Fairfield’s workforce, regardless of political boundaries. This defined area is called a Laborshed area and is based upon commuting patterns.

The purpose of this Laborshed study is to measure the availability and characteristics of Fairfield area workers. Laborshed studies are useful tools for economic development teams and existing or prospective employers to understand the local labor market, make informed expansion and site selection decisions, and maintain/recruit a high-quality workforce.

For the success of this study, we will be sending letters to employers in Fairfield asking that they provide us with aggregate counts of their employees’ residential ZIP codes. This will allow us to determine what the scope and scale of Fairfield’s Laborshed area is and better understand where Fairfield’s workforce resides.

A confidential survey of residents will also be conducted to collect workforce characteristic information specific to the area. Residents will receive a letter directing them how to take the survey online. Survey questions will cover topics such as: employment status, current and desired wages, current and desired benefits, education level, and type of occupation among other things. However, Iowa Workforce Development will not be asking survey takers identifiable information such as: name, social security number, or date of birth.

Every year Iowa Workforce Development conducts Laborshed studies across the State. The results of each analysis are publicly available online at

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association said, “Additional workforce is the greatest need for business and industry right now, this an ideal time to be commencing this workforce study. This completed study will be helpful to both existing employers who are making their growth plans, and for prospective employers looking to relocate to Fairfield. In addition to Fairfield, the same study will be commencing for 9 other communities in our Southeast Iowa regional economic development area. This will also allow us to measure the data against others and learn how we can become more competitive for attracting workforce to Jefferson County and the State of Iowa.

If you have any questions about the Laborshed project, please contact Katie Lippold at 515-281-3035 or Joshua Laraby, with Fairfield Economic Development Association at 641-472-3436. Thank you for your support and participation


Katie Lippold, Project Manager
Iowa Workforce Development
1000 E Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319
Telephone: 515-281-3035
FAX: 515-281-9656

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director
Fairfield Economic Development Association
101 N. Court Street, Fairfield, IA 52556
Telephone: 641-472-3436

Open House for Current Registered Child Care Providers and Those Interested in Becoming a Registered Child Care Provider

Location: Washington Elementary, 406 East Madison Ave. Fairfield
When: Wednesday, January 9th, 2019
6p.m. -7 p.m.

The Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Board is collaborating with the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee, and the Fairfield Economic Development Association to host an open house for .those interested in becoming a home-based child care provider, and those already providing child care in their home.

A Child Care Nurse Consultant is a free service that provides support and resources. I can help with special needs care planning, immunization questions, in addition to any health and safety questions. I can work with providers to obtain points for the quality rating system. I am also certified to inspect playgrounds. I provide trainings to help with the required training hours. I can also do a handwashing training with the children in care. For more information, please contact

Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) provides resources and education to support quality child care, including consultation and training for new and existing child care providers. Child Care Consultants can assist you with starting a child care business, meeting the Department of Human Services (DHS) regulations, applying for Iowa’s Quality Rating System (QRS), and any other questions you may have regarding child care. CCR&R also provides the registration application for new child care providers and can help you become registered with DHS. For more information, please contact

New Child Care Business Kits. CCR&R worked with our DHS partners to develop a business kit to provide you with information on 4 topics critical to your growth and success as a child care provider. This opportunity is specifically designed for newly registered providers or those in the process of becoming registered. Thanks to partnership with Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk ECI, grant funding will allow providers who commit to 4 on-site consultation visits to receive up to $250 in resources for your child care program. During each visit, the provider will work 1 on 1 with an experienced child care consultant to better your business and increase the quality of care you provide. This program is funded by Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa. For more information, please contact Chelsea Van Daele

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is funded by the USDA and works to combat hunger. CACFP serves over 4,000,000 children with healthy meals & snacks and is an indicator of quality child care. The CACFP encourages healthy meals and snacks to be served by child & adult care providers. Benefits of being a CACFP provider are financial reimbursement on groceries, education & training on healthy eating, tools & resources to use every day, and support from the entire child nutrition community. Requirements to be in the program in Iowa are that you are a registered child care home with your county Department of Human Services and that you are signed up with the local agency who sponsors the CACFP. For more information contact Glori Headley Johnson or Julie Pitzl at Sieda Community Action 641-682-8741 or or

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® IOWA (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) assists childcare providers throughout the state to increase their professional development through sponsored scholarships. Several scholarship models (or choices) exist for family child care home providers, child care teachers, directors, and part day preschools or program providers. Program administered by the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children. For more information, please contact

Child Care WAGE$® IOWA is a nationally licensed program currently funded in 37 counties across the state. WAGE$ provides salary supplements to childcare providers based on their levels of education and contingent upon continued work in their current eligible program. In doing so, WAGE$ seeks to increase education rates for staff, reduce turnover rates for early education programs, and improve the quality of care for children. Program administered by the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children. For more information, please contact

Media Contact:
Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Early Childhood Iowa
Director for Iowa, Keokuk and Jefferson Counties