The Child Care WAGE$® Program is an evidence-informed, outcome-driven initiative designed to increase the education and retention of the early care and education workforce through increased compensation. Education-based salary supplements tied to the successful completion of commitment periods in the same child care program result in a more stable, better-educated workforce.

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Participants, coworkers, employers, children, families and the community at large all benefit when teachers are more fairly compensated and children have a better chance to succeed in school and in life. Thanks to funding from participating local Smart Start partnerships and the Division of Child Development and Early Education, WAGE$ is making a difference across the state. Please see below for Child Care WAGE$® Program results.




  • The Child Care WAGE$® Program is important because child care staff are underpaid. It allows quality teachers to be able to add resources to their classroom, continue education and meet the needs of their households. Sometimes our paychecks just go towards our bills, and we also spend quite a bit on things our students or classrooms need. The WAGE$ Program helps us replace some of that money so we can survive. Thank you so much!

    participating teacher

  • The supplement relieves the financial burden, which has meant I have more head space, energy and a willingness to devote more of my time and resources to my children. I want to make sure I am being the best teacher they could possibly have.

    participating teacher

  • The WAGE$ Program is important because it rewards those teachers who have a passion to teach. It makes you happy, more confident and secure in knowing that you’re making a difference in the lives of the students that are in your care.

    participating teacher

Video Testimonials

Carrie Theall

Thanks in part to salary supplements provided by the WAGE$ Program, Carrie Theall, the Executive Director for the Alamance County Partnership for Children, explains that Alamance has been able to significantly increase the overall education level and retention of their child care workforce, which in turn greatly benefits the children in their care.

Erica Booker

Erica Booker is a long-time participant of WAGE$, and has received awards based on having a Bachelor’s Degree with significant coursework focused on children ages birth to five. She has remained in her current program since 2003! She is not only a recipient, but a member of our Advisory Committee. Here, Erica talks about how WAGE$ has helped her stay in her child care center and other ways it has made a difference in her life.

Shartarka Carmon

After receiving WAGE$ for many years, Shartarka Carmon was such a strong advocate for the program that she was invited to join and share her knowledge and experience with our Advisory Committee. In this video she talks about how WAGE$ helped her achieve her degrees! She now helps other teachers access the program.

Have questions? We can help!


Call a WAGE$ counselor at 919-967-3272. We are available by phone Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. When calling please reference WAGE$. If you are a current participant please also mention the county in which you work. You can also send us a message online.