MARSHALL (KMHL) – United Community Action Partnership has received a major grant they say will help to expand Early Head Start programs in southwest Minnesota.

UCAP says they have received a highly competitive grant totaling more than $2 million annually.

“This has been a long and intensive process,” said UCAP Head Start Director, Mary Lockhart-Findling. “We knew that this was going to be challenging since the entire nation was competing for the limited amount of expansion funding.”

The organization says the grant will allow them to expand Early Head Start programming to low-income pregnant women, infants and toddlers in Hutchinson, Marshall, Tracy and Willmar.

“The funding will address closing child care gaps and will focus on a two-generational approach for family well-being,” said Lockhart-Findling.

Lockhart-Findling says they are still looking for more classroom space.

“It has been a challenge to locate and secure licensable space and we would welcome any and all help from the Willmar, Marshall and Tracy communities,” added Lockhart-Findling.