|The Need:||Childcare options outside 9-5 PM|
|The Innovators:||York County members of the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission (ELIC), York County Community Foundation (YCCF), Child Care Consultants, ELRC Regions 9 and 10, and York County Commissioners|
The Need: Attracting and retaining quality teachers is the foundation for strengthening and increasing a community's capacity to serve young children with safe, enriching early learning programs. Consistency in child care teachers also assures reliable care for the children of working parents, which decreases turnover in the local workforce and boosts on-the-job productivity.
Why Now? In Pennsylvania, the four-star Keystone STAR continuous quality improvement system designates child care quality from STAR 1 through STAR 4. As programs move up in quality level, lead teachers must have early childhood education degrees. However, Pennsylvania salaries average $22,500, and many qualified teachers are compelled to leave the field for higher-paying jobs.
The Innovation: The York County Early Childhood Educator Awards put money directly in the pockets of teachers, showing sincere appreciation for their commitment to quality early childhood care and learning for children, families, and the York community.
How It’s Done: The process was deliberately designed to be simple and familiar. Early childhood education programs apply and are awarded funds through Child Care Consultants, the local Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC). Keystone STAR 2 or higher educators earn grants based on their educational qualifications,hours worked, and the program’s STAR level. The ELRC assures the program’s fiscal accountability by monitoring use of the funds.
How It’s Funded: A public/private initiative funded by grants from local private foundations, YCCF, individuals, and the County of York.
The Impact: Early learning programs operating on ultra-thin margins, especially since the pandemic disrupted operations, struggle to pay salaries that retain qualified people. The York County Early Childhood Educator Awards incentivize qualified educators to stay in the field, which improves quality by reducing turnover.
Get Involved: The Case Studies in Caring series explores award-winning business initiatives created with available resources and custom-crafted to meet local child care needs in their communities and workforces. To learn how your business can join the movement to invest in caring, go to investmentsincaringpa.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org