What Riverland's young college parents can look forward to

Child care is a pretty big issue for working folks -- including those in higher ed -- so my eye was drawn to this piece in the Albert Lea Tribune about how Riverland Community College is transforming one of its Austin campus buildings into an early childhood education center.

It's all through a $3 million fund from the Hormel Foundation, which will be sending its employees children there. The new center's capacity -- 200 children full time and another 200 part time -- should be large enough to handle them, as well as the kids of college employees and students and those in the general community, Riverland President Terry Leas told me.

It'll replace the smaller facility it has on campus now, which Leas said serves 100-150 children. So it should also provide more opportunities for students in the college's human services, nursing, and law-enforcement program to learn how to interact better with children.

Leas told me it might help in recruitment:

"We see it as a really attractive opportunity to attract young parents (to) campus."

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Although Hormel is funding the set-up of the new facility, the new service (like the current one) should be self-sufficient and funded through fees to parents, he said.

Some questions still remain, such as how much the service will cost parents, who will run it (the current day care company?) and exactly how many non-Hormel children will be able to use it.

It's an interesting idea, and one in which the private and public sector can help folks in a critical area.

I'll be putting some calls in after my winter break.