Initial plans for Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care’s New Bethel Center include:
- Child care center license with capacity for full-time, part-time, and drop-in children ages infant to 12 years.
- Competitive pay for full-time and part-time positions.
- Extended hours of operation to accommodate shift-working parents.
- Operations to begin in May 2017.
- Affordable tuition.
Original incorporating employers that assist in the cooperative start-up with financial and/or in-kind contributions will have first chance at available spots. Additional spots will be made available to the community as staffing, space and licensing allow.
The business will operate under the cooperative business model, where parents are the members. The initial board of directors consists of principals from the founding partners. As the entity transitions from start-up into operations, the board members will be replaced with parents whose children attend the child care center. The board will supervise the director and set the strategic direction and educational offerings of the center.
The employers forming the child care cooperative view it as one of many potential solutions to the child care deficiency in the county; its success would not preclude the success of other child care facilities. A 2015 Housing & Socioeconomic Assessment commissioned by Mercer County Economic Development cited a deficiency of 291 spaces in available child care, and other child care providers have ceased operation since that study was conducted.
If the Hazen facility proves to be successful, the cooperative will pursue a facility in Beulah.
About the business model:
The employer-assisted cooperative business model has been proven in various child care situations across the United States & Canada, though no child care cooperatives exist in North Dakota at this time (as of November 2016) .
Local employers assist in the start-up of the child care center through financial and in-kind contributions to an entity that’s incorporated as a nonprofit. Employers & parents serve on the board of directors, though parents have voting rights. The child care cooperative, like all cooperatives, is guided by the Seven Cooperative Principles: http://www.nreca.coop/about-electric-cooperatives/seven-cooperative-principles/