LABORSHED STUDY TO BE CONDUCTED IN FAIRFIELD

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 www.iowalmi.gov/laborshed

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

CONTACT

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
Joshua.Laraby@GrowFairfield.com

Sponsoring Entrepreneurs for Entrefest

 

Cedar Rapids, IowaMay 16-17, 2019

Entrefest – Iowa’s Largest Entrepreneurial Gathering – May 16-17.

Opportunity Squared Regional Economic Development will be sponsoring 2 entrepreneurs to attend.

Based on the State of Entrepreneurship 2019 Report released by the Kauffman Foundation, “In a thriving ecosystem, entrepreneurship empowers individuals; improves standards of living; and creates jobs, wealth, and innovation in the economy. Yet, entrepreneurs face many barriers when turning their ideas into realities. Despite challenges, many Americans are finding ways to break through these barriers to successfully launch businesses and revitalize entrepreneurial ecosystems across the county.”Opportunity Squared is prepared to register two individuals from its nine-county area to attend and learn firsthand from entrepreneurs that have “Been There, Done That”.

Visit www.entrefest.com for more information and to see a schedule of speakers and topics.

Download an application HERE

Please email completed applications to: sstroh@ottumwaiowa.com

Complete this application and return by April 12th for your chance to attend on our dime. (This is a competitive process)

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 mandi@jeffcoph.com

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 jledger@caeiowa.org

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 cvandaele@caeiowa.org

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 gjohnson@sieda.org or jpitzl@sieda.org.

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 http://www.iowaaeyc.org

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 jocee@iowaaeyc.org

Media Contact:
Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Early Childhood Iowa
Director for Iowa, Keokuk and Jefferson Counties
iowajeffersonkeokukeci@gmail.com

 

 

 

Current Home Child Care Provider Incentive Program for Jefferson County

Fairfield, Iowa (December 20th, 2018) The Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Board is collaborating with the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee to offer a new incentive program to anyone currently operating a registered child care program in their home Participants in the program can receive up to $2,500 in incentives. There are currently seven registered child care programs in Jefferson County.

Home-based child care businesses enrolled in the incentive program, will need to work with Child Care Resource and Referral and the Jefferson County Child Care Nurse Consultant to begin an application. The new incentive program will provide the following tiered-incentives:

Requirement:                                                                                                      Incentive:

  • Registered Provider to Level 1 on the Quality Rating System              $500.00
  • Go From a Level 1 To Level 2 on the Quality Rating System                $500.00
  • Go From a Level 2 To Level 3 on the Quality Rating System                $500.00
  • Go From a Level 3 To Level 4 on the Quality Rating System                $500.00
  • Go From a Level 4 To Level 5 on the Quality Rating System                $500.00

                                                                                                       $2,500.00 Total Incentive

“Our goal is to retain current home-based child care businesses in the Fairfield community. Home-based child care businesses will be eligible for incentive payment once they complete the quality requirements,” said Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Director for Iowa/Keokuk/Jefferson Early Childhood Iowa.  “Iowa has lost 40% of its child care providers in the last five years.  In 2011, Jefferson County had 36 providers. By 2018, the number of providers has decreased to 14.”

This incentive program is in response to the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee’s three-tiered approach to addressing the child care shortage in the Fairfield Community:

• Assist Existing Child Care Business to Expand Services
• Recruit and Retain New Home-Based Child Care Businesses
• Open a New Child Care Facility in Fairfield

There will be an open-house informational session for current home-based child care providers and for those interested in starting a new home-based child care program on January 9, 2019, at 6 p.m. at Washington Elementary School Gym.  Snow date is January 16, 2019.

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association said, “The committee is making consistent progress on assisting with the creation of more child care spaces, addressing affordability and improving the quality of care. The partnership between Early Childhood Iowa, the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee and economic development, we think, has been key.”

Contact’s to learn more:

Mandi Lauderman, Jefferson County Public Health
County Child Care Nurse Consultant
641-472-5929
mandi@jeffcoph.com

Julie Ledger, Child Care Resources & Referral
Child Care Consultant
jledger@caeiowa.org

Media Contact:

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Early Childhood Iowa
Director for Iowa, Keokuk and Jefferson Counties
iowajeffersonkeokukeci@gmail.com

ALCAST Midwest Works (formerly FALCO) Sells to Aluminum Castings Company

Fairfield, Iowa (November 30th,2018) Effective yesterday, ALCAST Midwest Works LLC in Fairfield, restructured and sold its operating assets to its Galesburg, Illinois based sister company, Aluminum Castings Company.

Aluminum Casting Company is a high-quality American aluminum sand castings foundry, specializing in supplying both cored and uncored parts in several aluminum alloys of all sizes and volumes, including prototyping.

Vice President of Operations for Aluminum Casting Company, Scott Kelsey, said, “we want to reassure the community, little will change, and operations will stay in Fairfield. Aluminum Castings Company is stable and well established. This was a strategic business move for us to ensure the life of Fairfield operations and this will position us for growth in this facility.”

With this transition, Kelsey said that operations between their different location were also restructured. They have reemphasized the sand molding operations in Fairfield to leverage the existing equipment and talent at the Fairfield location. They have also relocated their heat treating and grinding operations back to the Fairfield from their Clarence, Missouri facility. In addition, a portion of the previously outsourced core making work, has now also been brought in-house to the Fairfield location. “This is a positive change for the long-term sustainability of the company, we’re going to have a completely different level of support from their years’ experience from our other operations, said Kelsey”

In the sale, 36 of the Fairfield staff were hired by Aluminum Casting Company and 9 were not hired. “We were able to identify some opportunities for work-sharing with our other facilities and create some efficiency within our operations, said, Kelsey”

Kelsey, has been the V.P. of Operation for Fairfield since the first acquisition in August of 2017, says “ownership and management will not change. We have invested $1.5 million dollars into the facilities and equipment in Fairfield since 2017 and we have also added great health insurance benefits for our employees and a 401K opportunity, both which were not previously offered.”

Kelsey sees a positive outlook on the aluminum castings industry, both in the short and long term. “The industry is strong and as long we are able to maintain sustainable profits, we are looking at adding a new sand molding machine in Fairfield, which would add jobs here.”

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association, said, “It is good news to hear most operations will remain in Fairfield. Considering the changes, things sound to be stable for the company overall.”

“The local economy is strong and all of our sectors including the manufacturing sector are continuing to grow and add jobs. I encourage the displaced workers to apply with the Fairfield manufacturing companies.”

New Home Child Care Provider Incentive Program for Jefferson County

 

Fairfield, Iowa (October 12th, 2018) The Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Board is collaborating with the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee to offer a new incentive program to anyone wishing to start a new child care program in their home or to become a registered child care home provider if they are already caring for children in their home. Participants in the program can receive up to $3,500 in incentives.

Home-based child care businesses enrolled in the incentive program, will need to work with Child Care Resource and Referral and the Jefferson County Child Care Nurse Consultant to begin an application. The new incentive program will provide the following tiered-incentives:

Requirement:                                                                        Incentive:

  • Become a DHS Registered Provider                                      $500.00
  • Remain a DHS Registered Provider 6 months                    $500.00
  • Remain a DHS Registered Provider 12 months                  $500.00
  • Remain a DHS Registered Provider 18 months                  $500.00
  • Remain a DHS Registered Provider 24 months                  $500.00
  • Become A Level 1 on Quality Rating System                        $500.00
  • Become A Level 2 on Quality Rating System                        $500.00

                                                                        $3,500.00 Total Incentive

“Our goal is to recruit five new home-based child care businesses in the Fairfield community by July 1, 2019. Home-based child care businesses will be eligible for incentive payment once they complete the quality and longevity requirements,” said Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Director for Iowa/Keokuk/Jefferson Early Childhood Iowa.

This new incentive program is in response to the committee’s three-tiered approach to addressing the child care shortage in the Fairfield Community:

• Assist Existing Child Care Business to Expand Services
• Recruit and Retain New Home-Based Child Care Businesses
• Open a New Child Care Facility in Fairfield

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association said, “The work the steering committee has completed in the last few months has created a notable awareness in the community around the need for additional, quality and affordable child care spaces. We are not the only community in Iowa with a shortage of child care spaces, though in conversations on the state level, we are essentially forging the road in Fairfield with our strategic process. This new incentive is a helpful and measurable step towards closing the gap.”

The opportunity to create a thriving community by retaining, attracting and engaging families in the area depends on the availability of high quality, affordable, childcare. In an April 2018 survey in Jefferson County, 438 current and future parents articulated their challenges and desires regarding childcare. One take away from this survey is that, if a family can find affordable, high-quality child care, when they need it, they will stay in the school district, buy a home in the area, seek employment, patronize local businesses, and participate in community events. Child care is an important part of a community’s infrastructure; it is as critical as the built infrastructure.

In the first quarter of 2018, the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee, the Fairfield Economic Development Association, and the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Area Board commissioned First Children’s Finance of Des Moines to complete a Child Care Market Analysis to better understand the child care market in Jefferson County. The Child Care Market Analysis showed there are shortages in the number of child care slots for two-year old’s, and for full-day, full-year preschool for three and four-year old’s. Parents that participated in the market study identified a licensed center or a registered child care development homes as their most preferred options for providing care to their children.

There will be incentive information forthcoming for existing Registered Home-Based Providers.

 

Contact’s to learn more:

Mandi Lauderman, Jefferson County Public Health
County Child Care Nurse Consultant
641-472-5929
mandi@jeffcoph.com

Julie Ledger, Child Care Resources & Referral
Child Care Consultant
jledger@caeiowa.org

Media Contact:

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Early Childhood Iowa
Director for Iowa, Keokuk and Jefferson Counties
iowajeffersonkeokukeci@gmail.com

 

Pekin Child Care Center Expands Infant Care

This month, Pekin Child Care Center will be expanding the child care services and adding 12 infant spaces.

The center currently serves 168 children and once the 12 new spaces open, this will bring the total number of children served to 180.

Currently, Pekin Child Care Center has:

  • An infant room for children for 6 weeks of age to 1-years-old.
  • A transition room for children age 1-years-old to age 2-years-old.
  • A multi-age room serving ages 2-years-old to 5, a room structured similar to preschool, to meet each child’s developmental needs.
  • They also offer traditional preschool that serves 4-year-olds and also offer before and after school care to school age children.

 

Currently, the center employs 24 staff members and they will be adding one additional full-time staff person to support the expansion and some part-time staff will also transition to full-time.

Co-directors of the Pekin Child Care Center, Janet Conger and Gina Swearingen, and Administrator Kim Ledger expressed the expansion was driven by the center’s waiting list for infant spaces. They have had expecting parents reaching out to them for a spot on their waitlist. With this, they said the twelve expansion spaces are already filled.

The Pekin School District had an existing building on their campus that historically had many uses over the years, though most recently was unused, making the building available to be repurposed. The school district donated the building to the Pekin Child Care Center and it was relocated directly adjacent to the existing center. The building has been under renovation this past summer and is now completed. Conger, Swearingen and Ledger worked with the Department of Human Services and the Iowa State Fire Marshall’s to meet building code requirements for the renovation of the building. The cost of the project was supported by private donations, the Pekin School District’s SAVE (Secure and Advanced Vision for Education) and sales tax dollars as well as center funds.

Looking forward, the leadership plans to expand the transition room for children age 1-year old to age 2-years old in the next few months to accommodate children as they age out of the infant room.

The Pekin Child Care program started in 1991 and moved to its current location in 2001 and began their infant program that same year. They have a level four out of five on the Iowa Quality Rating System and the infant staff receives PITC [Program for Infant and Toddler Care] training through Child Care Resource and Referral. The center also participates in the Iowa Positive Behavior Support Program.  This sets child expectations of behaviors, rules to operate by, and provides teachable moments to support appropriate behaviors. Finally, they participate in the State Child Care Assistance Program and the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Preschool Scholarship Program to assist families with costs of tuition.

Kim Ledger said, “Pekin Childcare is committed to providing a quality service to the community. We take great pride in our long history of quality ratings and strive to develop programs that developmentally meet the needs of all the children we serve. We are supported by the Pekin School District, local businesses, and families who also strive to improve the greater community.  We are pleased to be in a position to expand our daycare facility in response to our community’s needs.”

Pekin Child Care Center has a long-term relationship with Indian Hills Community College to provide field experience for their Early Childhood Education Program.  They also work with the Pekin School District on a cross-age mentoring program for high school juniors and seniors that pair them with a child at the center.

The Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee, the Fairfield Economic Development Association, and the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Area Board commissioned First Children’s Finance to complete a Child Care Market Analysis to better understand the child care market in Fairfield and Jefferson County.  The Child Care Market Analysis showed there is a shortage of 137 infant spaces in Jefferson County. Parents that participated in the market study identified a licensed center or a registered child care development homes as their most preferred options for providing care to their children.

Pekin Child Care Center is serving 39 families with 57 children employed in Fairfield and they are serving 24 families with 38 children, living in Jefferson County.  In total, the center serves 95 children whose parents work in Fairfield or Jefferson County.

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson said, the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Board, “is looking forward to continuing to partner with Pekin Child Care Center to assist them with their expansion. Their expansion to provide quality early education and care to children helps to meet the child care challenges in Fairfield.”

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association stated, “Pekin Child Care Center has been providing quality care for families working in Fairfield for many years. Although we have work to do to create additional spaces in the area, the expansion of these 12 infant spaces is very helpful in reducing the gap that we are experiencing. The center’s successful growth over the years, including this expansion, is a testament to the center’s leadership.”

For more information about Pekin Childcare Center’s services, contact:

Co-directors, Janet Conger and Gina Swearingen
641-661-2028

 

Maharishi School Children’s House Expands Preschool and Child Care Services

Maharishi School Children’s House is expanding their child care and preschool services at the start of the new school year, by adding 24 new spaces for children.

They will now offer child care and preschool services to fifty-nine children this fall, compared to 35 spaces in the 2017-2018 school year.

Their new expansion will now have one classroom serving sixteen children ages eighteen months to three-year-old.  They will have two classrooms serving forty-three children ages three-year-old to six-years-old.  They will also be adding eight children to their afternoon program.  This will expand full-day services to forty-two children. The expansion of services has resulted in hiring additional staff.

Michelle Svenson was recently hired as the new director of the Maharishi School Children’s House.  She started with Maharishi School Children’s House in January 2015 and served as an assistant teacher and lead teacher before assuming responsibilities as the director in June 2018.  Maharishi School Children’s House is a licensed center with the Department of Human Services and the child care and preschool services are open to anyone in the general public. They also participate in the State Child Care Assistance Program and the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Preschool Scholarship Program to assist families with costs of tuition.

Michelle Svenson, said, Maharishi School Children’s House offers a unique Montessori style classroom and an Arbor Day Foundation Nature Explore playground. “The Montessori classroom is filled with a pleasant ‘hum’ as the children are working and playing. Each room is filled with concrete materials that teach the children abstract concepts. Children are free to choose anything that is “available” on a shelf and know they can work with it as long as they like. They return it to the shelf when they are done. This environment grows capability, independence and a lifelong love of learning.”

Svenson also shared, “the certified Arbor Day Foundation Nature Explore playground allows the children all the space to collaborate, play, create and build. The free play that happens on our playground is the perfect complement to the Montessori classroom. Concepts of early consent, respectful listening, emotional intelligence and social problem solving allow children to thrive in our environment.”

Maharishi School Children’s House is currently in discussion about a further expansion in the school year 2019-2020, but have not yet galvanized the consideration.

In January 2018, the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee, the Fairfield Economic Development Association, and the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Area Board commissioned First Children’s Finance to complete a Child Care Market Analysis to better understand the child care market in Jefferson County.  The Child Care Market Analysis showed there are shortages in the number of child care slots for two-year olds, and full-day, full-year preschool for three and four-year olds.  Parents that participated in the market study identified a licensed center or registered child care development homes as their most preferred options for providing care to their children.

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson said, the Iowa Jefferson/Keokuk Board, “is looking forward to continuing to partner with Maharishi School Children’s House to assist them with their expansion. Their expansion to provide quality early education and care to children helps to meet the child care challenges in Fairfield.”

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association, concluded with, “We see it essential to continue assisting in the facilitation of expanding child care services in the area. Child care services serve as vital infrastructure for growing and retaining our local workforce. Maharishi School Children’s House expanding their services will help address a segment of the gap we are currently experiencing in Jefferson County.”

 

For more information about services at Maharishi School Children’s School House, contact: 

Michelle Svenson, Director

michelleEsvenson@gmail.com

641-472-9400 x5100

2018 Educators in the Workplace

Educators in the Workplace has a simple goal- provide exposure of business and industry career paths to teachers, counselors, and administrators in southeast Iowa school systems so that they have a much better idea of what types of work are available for their students. Even if those students don’t have college plans, there many options for high-paying, long-term careers…