In celebration of Black History Month, it is essential to lift up the important work every day of the early childhood workforce, a majority of which in North Carolina are individuals of color. In fact, in North Carolina, nearly three-quarters (73%) of family child care providers are individuals of color. And, to be fully transparent, about 99% of the early education workforce are women.
Child Care WAGE$
How can we improve early childhood education? Implement a permanent solution that uses public dollars to pay teachers more.
We’ve said it before. We need a way forward – a post-pandemic strategy to better compensate the child care workforce. This period of temporary increases in child care funding offers states an opportunity to provide a bridge for longer-term solutions. It is time to build the bridge between the pandemic-related supplemental federal funds for child care and the post-pandemic child care landscape upon which parents and employers will depend. Economic recovery and growth depend on it.
Supports for child care, the early childhood workforce and early childhood homelessness were on the mind of our families, early childhood providers, advocates, politicians and communities in 2021.
“WAGE$ makes me want to keep going with my coursework. I love what I do, but there is not a lot of money in it. WAGE$ is an incentive to do it, to keep going because there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. My supplement increases with more classes. Who doesn’t like getting more money for more education when that coursework also helps change your life? You have education and you have money. It is a win-win. I don’t want to lose my supplement. It’s a big incentive.”
“WAGE$ encouraged me to get more education because my supplement increases and I’m explaining that to my coworkers because it really is a benefit,” said Kimberly Elliott, a Cleveland County teacher.
Child care is the workforce behind the workforce, yet the market is failing. The Child Care WAGE$® program is a common sense solution to a market failure. North Carolina’s economic recovery depends on it.