WEST LIBERTY, Iowa–Across the state, employees and the businesses they work for rely on high quality childcare to ensure that people can work with the assurance that their children have somewhere safe to go during working hours. Sept. 13, West Liberty Foods received a $750,000 Child Care Business Incentive Grant to double the number of children the West Liberty Childcare Center can take within approximately the next two years.
Since ensuring workers have access to affordable, high quality childcare has represented an ongoing goal for West Liberty Foods’ CEO Brandon Achen and Chief Talent and Culture Officer Tara Lindsay, they welcomed the opportunity to apply for a Child Care Business Incentive Grant earlier this year. Using this grant, West Liberty Foods has pledged to match up to the full amount of the grant to enable the West Liberty Childcare Center to take far more children than it currently can. General Counsel Brian Melhus explained: “West Liberty Foods will commit a match of up to $750,000 to double the number of available slots at the West Liberty Childcare Center from 48 to 96. We will also collaborate with the Center to ensure the community attracts high quality providers consistent with the Center’s history of excellence.”
To increase the number of slots, money from the grant and the matching funds will go to building an addition on to the childcare center. Once the center has the ability to offer 96 slots, they will reserve up to 40 slots for the children of West Liberty Foods employees.
According to the grant’s rules, West Liberty Foods must obligate their matching funds to the project by the end of 2024. However, Melhus expects to have completed all the work necessary for West Liberty Childcare to add their additional slots before then, providing more local opportunities for childcare as soon as possible.
Because having adequate childcare options helps working parents miss less work and feel confident that their children will receive good care, Melhus believes the expansion of West Liberty Childcare will have a positive effect on many who work at West Liberty Foods: “At West Liberty Foods, we recognize that our most valuable asset is our team – the men and women that come to work every day to help our company succeed and to produce the up to 650 million pounds of food that we sell each year, and we understand that childcare in our community is essential to attracting and retaining those team members. We are proud to be able to play a small part in delivering such a critical service to our team and to our community.”
As West Liberty Foods and West Liberty Childcare start their new collaboration, West Liberty Food’s feels thankful for the new capabilities the grant they received has given them. Melhus stated: “we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to help deliver such an important and necessary service to our team and our community. Thank you again to Governor Reynolds, Beth Townsend at Iowa Workforce Development, and all the people working so hard to administer this important program.”