Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® (AWARD$) provides education-based salary supplements to low-paid early educators working full-time with children birth through age two in North Carolina. If you’re just learning about the AWARD$ program, be sure to check out the program overview, F.A.Q, and learn about the results AWARD$ can provide. You’ll also find information on how to qualify and apply.
Get Started with AWARD$
Do you know if you qualify for AWARD$? We make it easy with a list of applicant requirements and more.
Ready to apply? Use our application resources to get started.
Learn more about the results that the AWARD$ program provides. See facts and figures, and read testimonials from program participants.
Working with DCDEE, we have made an adjustment to the AWARD$ caps/eligibility during the stabilization grants
We have had many calls expressing concern about whether the stabilization grants could cause someone to lose AWARD$ eligibility. It has always been our intent that COVID and funding related to its impact would not negatively impact participants wherever possible. However, we do have income caps for AWARD$ and each partnership has selected the cap they want us to implement. If centers use the stabilization grants on bonuses, that will not be an issue as these bonuses will not count toward their hourly rate. However, if they do increase the hourly rates, which is the long term goal, participants could lose eligibility using current policy. As a result, we will be implementing a temporary policy change.
Since the stabilization grants are directly tied to COVID-related issues, the plan is not to include the additional increases when verified to be a result of the stabilization grants. In other words, when we do the standard employment confirmations to determine if someone is eligible to be paid, if the center states that the participant is now over income as a result of an increase in salary due to the stabilization grant they received, then we will continue to use the rate of pay from the previous confirmation and will not use the new rate to determine eligibility. New applicants who apply with an hourly rate that is too high will go through the same confirmation process. This exception will be made through June 30, 2022. The policy will be revisited prior to next fiscal year.
We hope this policy change addresses the concerns we have heard from partnerships and directors alike. We have reached out to DCDEE for support of this temporary change. Thank you for your support of the workforce through the Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® supplements and for understanding the need to be flexible during this time.
The AWARD$ program is designed to better compensate and retain well-educated teachers and family child care educators working with our youngest children.
Learn more with our AWARD$ video, or download the flyer.
Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® Webinar
The program has encouraged staff to pursue more education. The children will have more educated teachers and they will be less likely to seek other employment. Children will have more continuity of care.
— participating director
Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® always seems to come right on time. It helps me to stay in infant-toddler care. It motivates me to keep going, helps me to realize that somebody cares, and shows that infant and toddler teachers are not forgotten.
— participating teacher
The Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® supplement has certainly helped with staff retention. The extra money that my teachers are receiving sometimes makes the difference between them staying at our center or leaving the early childhood education field altogether.
— participating director
The reason this pandemic economy is particularly challenging for the child care workforce is that for decades, child care was one of the lowest-paid jobs across occupations. A permanent solution to the child care workforce wage and benefit challenge is needed. Economic recovery and growth depend on it.
“Both WAGE$ and AWARD$ are helping to alleviate the financial burden that we have faced, and I would like to see WAGE$ funded in every county because Guilford doesn’t have access to WAGE$. We all need a chance to succeed.”
Tomorrow is Worthy Wages Day, but it’s long past time for early educators to earn the professional compensation and benefits they deserve.