An inspired childcare option

Published 6:06 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Ribbon Cutting celebrates Inspired Beginnings Learning Academy


Just over one year ago, ground was broken on Hormel Foods Corps’ Inspired Beginnings Learning Academy, and on Tuesday afternoon they cut the ribbon on the finished $5 million, 13,000 square foot facility that many within the community hope will increase options for childcare in the community.

“It’s surreal. This has been years in the making,” said Angie Bissen, Human Resources manager who has been involved with the center since the beginning. “I found myself thinking that we’ve finally crossed the finish line, but really it’s just the beginning.”

Email newsletter signup

Work on the idea of a childcare facility by the company prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Slowed by the pandemic, the idea began gaining momentum again in the years following.

It’s a project that saw Hormel partner with a number of different organizations including Mower County, the City of Austin and Austin Public Schools, who granted tax abatements for the property.

Both Mower and Austin granted 15 year abatements and APS a five year abatement.

With the academy already in operation and children under the roof, Bissen said the next steps will be about letting the community know about what it can offer.

“Next up is creating that raised awareness of what a great facility it is,” she said. “We will also be looking at implementing our school age program.”

The academy will serve up to 130 children and offer a wide range of programming that will educate students through sensory and hands-on educational activities.

Bright Horizons will operate the facility, adding to its approximately 1,000 facilities located in the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands and India.

“You are providing a meaningful support for your employees,” said Linda Bartleson, Group Vice President, Operations for Bright Horizons. “Our goal is to help your children do more than just learn.”

At its core, however, Inspired Beginnings is about answering a question of child care availability that communities across the nation are seeing by creating an option for parents and families.

Hormel is part of a growing trend of companies nationwide using their resources to build childcare facilities to answer that shortage.

“It gives our people one more reason to call Austin home,” said Hormel Senior Vice President of Human Resources Katie Larson.

At the same time, many at Tuesday afternoon’s presentation highlighted the work done by so many coming together on one project, something Hormel Chairman of the Board, President and CEO Jim Snee commented on himself.

“So much has gone on behind the scenes to get us to this point,” Snee said. “Hormel Foods is so proud to be a part of this community solution. We’re so incredibly proud to have so many great partners along the way.”

Inspired Beginnings will be open Monday through Friday from  6:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. To learn more about the academy, visit: