NCBA CLUSA member the Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) has partnered with Zero to Five Montana to start a pilot program aimed at tackling the statewide childcare crisis. Lack of affordable childcare was an issue before the pandemic; now, it’s become a major problem. When people can’t find affordable childcare, they leave the workforce to care for their children, weakening their community’s workforce. Employers struggle to retain and recruit employees, and people put their careers on hold.
Working with nine different communities across the state, MCDC provided technical support, research, and regular check-ins to help dedicated Montanans navigate the challenges that come with addressing childcare shortages. MCDC has introduced the cooperative business model to childcare facilities in each community as a way to engage employers, childcare workers, and families in finding creative solutions to solve the childcare problem. MCDC has guided them through holding town meetings, creating steering committees, and developing business plans. By working with these diverse communities, MCDC has followed its mission statement of using the co-op model to address the economic and community needs they face.
Check out this short video from MCDC providing an overview of what a childcare cooperative is and how it can be structured: