Hire by hire, child care centers chip away at labor shortage
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Hiring at child care centers still lags behind other sectors, according to the latest federal numbers from September. It’s been hard for the early childhood education sector to find teachers and providers, as employers like Amazon and Target increase wages to attract workers. Still, there is a bright spot in the hiring numbers for the child care industry.
For more than a year, Heather Gorski has been trying to recruit teachers for the four early childhood care centers she runs in Southern California.
“It was simply no one was applying, and people were still very fearful of coming back to work,” she said.
But last month, a couple applications came in.
“And I was able to hire two different people. So that was wonderful,” Gorski said.
Many child care centers are still understaffed, but the number of people working in that field did tick up last month, by about 3%.
That might be because of child care stabilization grants from the American Rescue Plan. Ashley Williams with the Center for the Study of Childcare Employment at UC Berkeley said those dollars can be used to attract and keep teachers.
“Recruitment bonuses or hero pay bonus pay, or incentives to retain the workforce,” she said.
But because early childhood education is one of the lowest paid fields in the U.S., Williams said it’ll take more than that to make child care sustainable long term.
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