This event took place on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 | 7:30am—9:00am

Small Talks Recap:
Economics of Early Childhood Education,
True Costs Families and Early Child Care Educators

Art Rolnick and guest panelists’ explored the economic challenges for families and child care providers. This conversation examined the current system, the economic effect on families and providers and programs, and suggested improvements for Minnesota’s early care and education system.

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Heidi Hagel Braid

Director of National Programs, First Children’s Finance

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Heidi Hagel Braid is the Director of National Programs at First Children’s Finance, a nonprofit organization focused on increasing the sustainability and supply of high quality child care businesses. Hagel Braid leads efforts to create, implement and communicate early care and education business strategies that lead to a well-paid workforce, more sustainable and accessible high quality care, and improved outcomes for children. She specializes in the expansion of programs and services into new states and regions, including increasing states’ capacity to address early care and education business needs and opportunities for alignment of resources.

Hagel Braid joined First Children’s Finance as the Regional Director, Minnesota and the Dakotas, in 2012, bringing over 15 years of nonprofit experience and a strong history working on the behalf of children and families. In 2013, Heidi launched the Rural Child Care Innovation Program, an innovative effort linking rural economic development and child care. She has also led the development of national child care business analysis tools that assess the financial operations of family child care businesses.

Daniel Gumnit

CEO, People Serving People, Center of Excellence Preschool and Learning Center

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Daniel Gumnit is focused on developing systemic solutions to childhood and family homelessness and is a passionate advocate for improving access to early childhood development programs for children living in poverty. He is actively involved with community and policy organizations and serves on the State’s Early Childhood Systems Reform Steering Committee, the Executive Committee of MinneMinds, Minnesota Department of Education’s Education Access for Homeless Children Ages 0-4 Working Group, and the Board of Directors of the East Town Business Partnership. Mr. Gumnit’s experience includes broad executive leadership spanning publicly traded, privately held and nonprofit organizations. Previously, he served as Twin Cities PBS’s Director of National Program Development. Prior to entering the not-for-profit field, Mr. Gumnit worked in television and interactive media for 13 years with the Interpublic Group. He has a BA from the University of Minnesota, an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, and was a 2016-2017 Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Mr. Gumnit has led People Serving People since August 2011.

Trinette Potts

Child Care Business Coordinator, Think Small

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Trinette Potts, Child Care Business Coordinator at Think Small, has 18 years of experience in early childhood education. After starting a 4-star rated family child care business, and serving as the child care center director of a nationally accredited program Trinette now provides recruitment support and technical assistance to child care providers seeking start up new high-quality businesses. She received her AAS Degree in Child Development from Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and is a member of several professional organizations including National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), National Black Child Development Institute, and the Minnesota Center for Professional Development.

Featured Presenter and Moderator:

Art Rolnick

Economist and Senior Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota with expertise on the economics of early childhood development

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Arthur J. Rolnick is a senior fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He previously served at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis as a senior vice president and director of research and as an associate economist with the Federal Open Market Committee—the monetary policymaking body for the Federal Reserve System. Rolnick is working to advance multidisciplinary research on child development and social policy. His essays on public policy issues have gained national attention; his research interests include banking and financial economics, monetary policy, monetary history, the economics of federalism, and the economics of education. His work on early childhood development has garnered numerous awards, including those from the George Lucas Educational Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Health, both in 2007; he was also named 2005 Minnesotan of the Year by Minnesota Monthly magazine.

In addition to his role as a senior fellow at Humphrey School for Public Affairs, Dr. Rolnick is an adjunct professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Minnesota. He has also been a visiting professor of economics at Boston College, the University of Chicago, and Lingnan College, Guangzhou, China. He is past president of the Minnesota Economic Association. He serves on several nonprofit boards related to early childhood, including Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), Way to Grow, Think Small, Close Gaps by 5, Minnesota Early Learning Council, City of Minneapolis Cradle to K Advisory Board, New York City Early Childhood Advisory Board, and Ready Nation Advisory Board. Rolnick also serves as an ad hoc advisor to several communities across the country regarding the field of early childhood education.

A native of Michigan, Rolnick has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in economics from Wayne State University, Detroit; and a doctorate in economics from the University of Minnesota.


Presentation Slides and Photos

Presentation slides: Download Now (PDF)

Click on an image for a larger view.

Additional Resources

For additional resources, follow the links below:

  • FREE book from Department of Economic and Employment Development: 
    First Considerations in Starting A Family Childcare Business (PDF)
    The publication is directed at persons considering the formation and operation of a family day care business. It offers information that will guide the decision making on whether or not to enter this type of business. It is not intended as a source for legal or tax advice. Nor does it seek to provide counsel on all the aspects of starting a family child care business. Click title to download or contact the Small Business Assistance Office to order a free copy.
    Phone: 651-259-7476


Presenting Sponsor:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation
Learn more about how Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation make a healthy difference in communities by advancing health equity and improving the conditions where people live, learn, work and play.


Reflection Sciences
Learn more about the best measure of Executive Function available today – the Minnesota Executive Function Scale – a direct behavioral assessment of the neurocognitive skills that are most vital to academic and life success.


Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
Learn more about how The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) programs promote business recruitment, expansion, and retention; international trade; workforce development; and community development.