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Empower to Educate Update

January 25th 2019-303 (2)

Empower to Educate helps current and aspiring early childhood educators begin, advance, and sustain their career goals in child care. The purpose of the project is to increase the number of people entering the early childhood workforce by offering benefits such as a free training package, an education preparation stipend, job skills training, help accessing and navigating technology, a mentorship program, and a retention bonus after six months of employment. This is accomplished through personal support from a local Workforce Advisor.

Existing child care programs need help finding sufficient staff to operate at their licensed capacity. This is challenging in a low-paying field. As a 2020 Minnesota DEED report notes, “Most of the cost of running early care and education programs is in staffing. But because programs rely on parents to pay, they can’t raise prices above what their parents can afford, which means that they often cannot charge enough to compensate staff at a level that meets basic cost of living.” Job vacancy rates also continue to be high in the state, meaning that workers can easily find other jobs, and those jobs often don’t require the additional training necessary to work in the child care field. A recent Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank survey found that 60% of child care programs said hiring was “very difficult,” and another 22% said it was “difficult.” A year ago, only 47% said hiring was “very difficult.”

In its first six months, the team of six local Empower to Educate Workforce Advisors connected with 278 potential early childhood educators across Minnesota and supported 130 to begin career paths in early childhood education. Empower to Educate also administered 95 training stipends to participants and connected participants to higher education, training, and professional development opportunities and supports.

These participant testimonials highlight the benefits of the program:

  • I have found the Empower to Educate program to be one of the best resources for child care providers, and I hope to see it continually supported as such given the growing need for child care in my area. I am forever grateful for their ongoing support!  – Veda
  • Empower to Educate has been a great resource for me! They are helping me find trainings, pay my fees for the trainings I needed, helping me write my resume, etc. They give very detailed explanations and have very good advice. – Deqo
  • Empower to Educate has provided me with resources I didn’t even know were available throughout my learning journey! I always knew I wanted to work with children but didn’t know where to start. Empower to Educate has paved the path for me and is there to answer any questions I have! – Chelsea

More information about Empower to Educate is available on the Child Care Aware of Minnesota website.