Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care’s New Bethel Center opened in May 2017. The child care center offers:
- 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.
- Affordable tuition.
The child care center is organized as a nonprofit that operates under the cooperative business model, where parents are the members. The founding board of directors consists of principals from the founding partners. As operations stabilize, the founding board will transition to an executive oversight committee, and regular board members will consist of 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 consider 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 existed in North Dakota 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/