Childcare Industry Leaders in Houghton County are Seeking Solutions to Industry Issues that Greatly Affect Communities

Childcare providers are the economic cornerstone of any region. The importance of the industry means any issue it faces impacts the surrounding community. There are thirteen-hundred kids still in need of child care in Houghton County alone. The region only has 300 childcare slots currently available. Director for the Copper Country Great Start Collaborative, Iola Brubaker, says that she was astonished by the vast number of children still in need of child care, and the large gap between the number of kids and number of available slots with providers.

But, no, a thousand new slots. We don’t need one new center or one new provider, we need multiple. The issue’s so big that, that it’s going to take a team to resolve it. And I was excited to see the variety, and the different individuals engaged in this process. Both here and online. I was super excited by all the people that are real passionate about addressing this issue and not just talking about it. – Iola Brubaker, Director, Copper Country Great Start Collaborative

The Copper Country Great Start Collaborative held a town hall in conjunction with First Children’s Finance. Leaders in education, business and childcare reviewed and addressed the current issues faced by child care providers and families. Organizers hope the town hall can offer potential solutions to child-care issues.

So our small groups have really come out with some great ideas, I haven’t had time to really analyze them yet. But they talked about recruiting families to the CTE, the career and technical education early childcare program. How to engage our current providers, and additional supports, such as doing centralized business work for them. Or look into possible locations for new facilities. All of those things we take us to the right direction. – Iola Brubaker, CCGSC

The next step will be to create an action plan from the information and solutions gathered from the forum. Anyone interested in learning more about the Copper Country Great Start Collaborative first children’s finance rural childcare innovation program, contact Iola Brubaker or visit

First Children’s Finance Rural Child Care Innovation Program