Hormel Foods to open new community childcare center in Austin

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Hormel foods is currently designing a new community childcare center to start construction later this year. Representatives from Hormel say it is not just an investment in their own employees, but an investment in economic development in the whole region as well.

“Everyone recognizes there is a need – especially for the youngest age groups,” said Angie Bissen, manager of HR business partners at Hormel Foods.

The meatpacking giant will break ground in the coming months on a project it’s been working on for years: a $5 million 13,000 square-foot childcare center. It’s slated to go up at 5th street northwest and 17th avenue northwest in Austin.

Hormel says the center will bring around 25 new jobs to the city.

The goal is to free up potential employees, who are currently stuck at home due to lack of childcare.

“We’ve heard that its a challenge for attraction and retention of talent, and as we started the conversation, we realized that its a challenge for more than just Hormel Foods. It’s a challenge for the community,” Bissen explained.

Austin is in need of more than 500 placements for kids needing childcare. Mower County, in total, needs more than 800, according to a 2022 report by First Children’s Finance, a nonprofit that focuses on the business side of childcare. This new center will create 130 new placements.

“We recognize that this isn’t just a women’s issue, this isn’t just a parents issue, this isn’t just a family issue. This is an issue as me as an employer, but it’s also an issue in our community,” said Jessica Beyer, associate director for Minnesota for First Children’s Finance.

The company’s goal is to break ground in May of this year, and have the center open by April of 2024. Hormel Employees will have priority in securing spots, but the center will eventually be open to the whole community.