A pilot program is using outside-the-box thinking to help address the childcare crisis in Sioux Falls.

The pilot, called Sub Me In, is being developed at EmBe by a Community Innovation Stakeholder Group that is part of the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative. SFCC is an engagement collaborative of Sioux Falls Thrive. 

EmBe received a $200,000 grant from the Bush Foundation in December 2020 to explore solutions to childcare staffing issues.

“In our short time, we have had many accomplishments,” says Denice Dengler, a consultant with EmBe hired to implement the program. 

As the lead in this program, EmBe serves as the employer for the substitute employees, and as such oversees all hiring and firing, vetting, training, insuring, and payroll processing.


We have had 24 applicants for the substitute position and hired seven substitute staff members. We continue to recruit, interview, and hire substitute employees, and are filling substitute requests at approximately 75% fill rate.

Denice Dengler

Consultant with EmBe

Since the launch of the internal pilot in early April 2022, EmBe has had over 150 requests for substitute employees in their three pilot locations.

We continue to learn from our internal pilot testing, but we want to test our program externally with non-EmBe childcare locations,” says Dengler. “There are a few remaining roadblocks to navigate.”

The childcare crisis In Sioux Falls affects everyone, not just parents.

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