NGage Prioritizes Childcare in Gage County

26 Jun 2023


Childcare is a critical economic and community growth driver, and NGage has committed to addressing the lack of childcare after learning of Gage County’s need. In 2023, Gage County was one of five areas in Nebraska selected for Rooted Community Partnerships, a childcare provider quality enhancement activities project through the new Preschool Development Grant (PDG 4.0). 

First Five Nebraska, a champion of significant early childhood development initiatives in Nebraska, reports the absence of stable and reliable childcare directly affects Gage County with losses of more than $6 million annually. The impact on children has an even larger significance. In 2018, First Five Nebraska reported that roughly 39% of children in Nebraska between the ages of 0 – 5 are at risk of failing in school solely due to lack of childcare. As of 2022, the number decreased to 34%, proving a positive change at a slow pace. 

While many parents choose to be stay-at-home parents, there are Gage County families without the option due to a lack of childcare. The impact goes beyond the home resulting in a loss of potential workforce for Nebraska’s businesses, making childcare a statewide issue. The effects on Gage County alone are staggering.

Direct annual impact on working parent incomes totals $3.9 million, with these primary contributors:

  • Absenteeism - $392,000
  • Forgoing a Promotion - $400,000
  • Reduce Hours to Part-time - $1.3 million
  • Turnover/Job Loss - $1.3 million

Direct annual impact on employers totals $1.9 million, with these primary contributors:

  • Absenteeism - $196,000
  • Employee Turnover - $492,000
  • Workplace Productivity - $1.2 million

In addition, taxable retail sales experience an annual loss of $800,000.

Rooted Community Partnerships

The Rooted Community Partnerships project incentivizes quality enhancement activities for new and current childcare providers, including licensing for new childcare providers. Funding for the project is provided through a partnership between DHHS and three of Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s initiatives: C4K, Rooted in Relationships, and Sixpence Childcare Partnership. The project will allow providers to participate in training opportunities to enhance their childcare services.

NGage Prioritizes Childcare

Beginning with 2023, NGage created a three-year strategic plan to help sustain and grow Gage County’s economy and quality of life. One critical direction of this plan is developing partnerships to address childcare availability and affordability.

The University of Nebraska, Lincoln’s Bureau of Business Research’s Final Report – The Bottom Line: Economic Impacts of Inadequate Child Care Access in Nebraska, prepared for First Five Nebraska, highlights the negative personal and business-related impacts of the lack of childcare. Following the Final Report’s design, economist Dr. Melissa Trueblood created a Gage County-specific report stating an annual $6.7 million loss due to a lack of childcare.

NGage knows the best outcomes are possible with the best relationships and partnerships. In the past year, NGage made positive strides in addressing childcare to help improve the communities and lives of all in Gage County, such as:

  • Collaborating with Nebraska Children, Nebraska DHHS, and the Gage County C4K team to create the Childcare Capacity Expansion Grant. Four awardees received grants to improve their childcare facilities to increase capacity. 
  • Collaborating with Gage County C4K, Gage County 4-H, and Beatrice Community Hospital, the Babysitting Clinic was launched to help young entrepreneurs start babysitting businesses. 
  • Hiring Dee Enevoldsen to the NGage team as the Early Childhood Community Coordinator to help connect with providers, address childcare availability, and enhance the quality of childcare for residents of Gage County.

Upcoming Events and Opportunities 

Gage County C4K and NGage will host an Early Childhood Information Session on June 27. This networking event will center around childcare training and allow providers to share their knowledge and learn from their peers and area leaders.

gage county

In addition, NGage is seeking current and startup childcare providers to participate in the Rooted Community Partnerships opportunity. To learn more about quality enhancement activities and available incentives, please contact NGage at 402-228-5869 or email