b'Our Work:preparing Child care providersChild Care is EssentialNow more than ever, people are realizing that child care is essential to the future of our state. Child care providers are heroes who allow others to go to work and grow our economy. Think Small helps these early child care educators achieve their goals. We ensure they have what they need to succeed by preparing and supporting early childhood providers through professional development, consultation, and coaching.A Child Care Provider Story:Direction When Needed Most Build Your Own Iesha Jackson knew she wanted to start a child care program in NorthThe Build Your Own program Minneapolis, but she didnt know where, and she wasnt sure how toworks with people in under-make to it happen. Thats when a friend led Iesha to Think Smalls Buildserved areas to start a child Your Own Program.care business, become licensed, The program offers free individualized assistance to those beginning orand move towards measurable expanding a family child care program or child care center. Staff helpedhigh-quality. The program offers Iesha navigate the Minnesota Department of Human Services licensingfree individualized assistance process, access required trainings, and connect her with a Parent Awarein the start-up or expansion of coach who is working with her to build a high-quality, star-rated program.either licensed family child care Build Your Own helped me out by showing me what I was supposed toprograms or child care centers. do, the steps I needed to accomplish, how to build my environment, andAs part of this program, our all of the legal items I needed to take care of, Jackson said. child care business coordinator meets with current or potential Build Your Own staff also recommended Jackson take a child carechild care providers to assess business boot camp with First Childrens Finance which in turn helpedneeds and design a start-up or her acquire the perfect location for her child care. She was able tond aexpansion plan. home to operate her small business, and it even came with an attached space for a child care program complete with its own entrance.Jackson has worked in the early childhoodeld on and off for the last ten years. She was also a director at a child care center.I wanted to start my own child care program so that I could implement my own ideas, she said. I was seeing how centers farther out in the suburbs have more resources and better quality so I just wanted to bring those same resources into North Minneapolis and give more to these kids. Jackson said the Build Your Own Program provided support through the entire process. Networking and learning where to start. Just having that person to go to and ask questions when you get stuck, she said. I felt like I wasntThink Small sta\x1fmembers Cheryl Kottke, going through it alone.Ashley Hallberg and Lisa Thompson attended the Dakota County Early Childhood Career Fair in March 2020. The three met with students and educators who were searching for career opportunities.'