Equitable Pay Starts with Us

Children hold hands in a circle and play outdoors


Jennifer Gioia

Equitable Pay Starts with Us

$15/hour for all CCSA employees is a move to inspire better wages for all early childhood professionals.

Chapel Hill, N.C., October 19, 2021: Child Care Services Association (CCSA) is taking the lead in showing what an organization committed to social justice can look like by starting to address the economic challenges of its own workforce as it advocates for supporting those within early childhood education. During its September Board Meeting, CCSA’s Board of Directors voted to implement a minimum hourly wage of $15 an hour for all staff including its part-time staff working in its kitchens to take effect in September. The decision to raise wages and create a greater minimum hourly wage to go along with its generous benefit package for staff was a move tied to the organization’s Strategic Plan with the goal of building a sustainable, high-functioning organization that is employee-centric, and focused on embedding diversity, equity and inclusion into all aspects of CCSA’s culture.

At CCSA, the focus is two-fold: support its internal staff so they can support others. It is important to highlight that as CCSA addresses wages, many early childhood teachers and family child care providers are still looking for change. In North Carolina, before the pandemic, starting early childhood teachers in centers earned an average of $10.50 per hour, and family child care providers earned an average of $9.09 per hour, according to the 2019 study Working in Early Care and Education in North Carolina. Additionally, the study found that 39% of teachers and 37% of assistant teachers reported receiving some type of public assistance in the past three years (e.g., Medicaid, SNAP, TANF and/or child care subsidy).

The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear to everyone that child care is essential – for young children, working families and our state’s economy. Early educators are the workforce behind the workforce, and they have been on the frontlines of this crisis from day one. CCSA hopes to see others come together to help build stability in early childhood care and education and help rebuild our state economy. CCSA is proud to address challenges related to economic justice for all, and this step moves the organization forward. CCSA continues to support the compensation of early childhood professionals through its Child Care WAGE$® and Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$ Plus® programs. CCSA also calls on others to support and get involved in the Worthy Wages campaign to see adequate compensation put in place for all important early childhood professionals.

Child Care Services Association
Founded in 1974, the mission of Child Care Services Association (CCSA) is to lead efforts to strengthen accessible and affordable quality early care and education by providing supports for families, communities and the workforce. To that end, CCSA provides free child care referral services to families, financial assistance to low-income families seeking child care and professional development and technical assistance to child care programs. Through spoonFULL, CCSA also provides nutritious meals to children at child care centers, where they may eat 50-100 percent of their meals. Throughout North Carolina, educational scholarships from CCSA’s T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Program give child care professionals the means to obtain a debt-free education, while CCSA’s Child Care WAGE$® and Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$ Plus® programs supplement their meager salary. CCSA also licenses T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ across the U.S. through the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center at CCSA and conducts early childhood systems and homelessness research and policy development statewide and nationally. For more information, visit childcareservices.org.