Early childhood education battles recruiting and retaining staff

Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 5:37 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The South Dakota Association for Education of Young Children and Head Start Association partnered to put together a conference regarding early childhood education.

Community members and professionals from around the Hills gathered to speak about many of the issues that they’re facing in the business. Especially after the pandemic.

One of the things at the top of the list is the difficulties in both recruiting and retaining a qualified workforce.

Officials attribute that to high start up costs for facilities which influence the low pay in the business, and ultimately drive costs up for parents hoping to get their children into daycare.

”It really is a community issue,” asks Aaron Merchen, Director of Early Childhood Policy and Program with the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, “right? And, it has to be both investment of time, investment of resources and communication between a lot of difference partners. It needs to happen community to community, state to state and also at the federal level. It’s because it’s something that affects everyone.”

Merchen believes that childcare providers are going to provide that change, because those in the business community and policy makers need to learn about the profession of childcare.

He says those with their boots on the ground living it have the best means of doing so.

Merchen says he’s concerned sometimes policy may be dedicated to issues that don’t exist. He hopes getting in touch with Childcare professionals, or going to the source directly, will see that doesn’t happen so funding is allocated efficiently to the necessary areas.

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