REETAIN Bonuses Help Child Care Professionals Stay in the Field
Workforce retention is a constant challenge in child care programs. Fortunately, Minnesota has a program to help these programs retain and support staff. The Retaining Early Educators Through Attaining Incentives Now (REETAIN) program provides competitive bonuses of $500 – $3,000 to incentivize well-trained child care professionals to stay in the workforce, creating more consistent care for children over time. Recipients of REETAIN bonuses commit to remain in their position or business for at least one year after the grant is awarded.
Since 2003, REETAIN has awarded grants to over 2,800 early childhood and school-age care professionals with degrees or credentials, keeping them in the field teaching our youngest Minnesotans. In Fiscal Year 2022, 384 center child care staff and 193 family child care staff received bonuses. Thanks to an increased appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature, REETAIN can serve even more early educators this year. New program guidelines beginning in 2022 helped the program reach educators earlier in their careers and at lower educational levels. Bonuses are now available annually and increase for higher levels of education.
In the most recent survey of REETAIN recipients, over half felt that the grant strongly or very strongly influenced their decision to remain in the field. Interview respondents also indicated that funds from the REETAIN program relieved considerable stress for providers by helping them pay bills and other expenses and allowing them to focus more easily on their work.
One recipient noted in the survey, “I am happy and thankful to get the grant. Makes me feel appreciated and important – I live paycheck to paycheck. I believe I make a difference – nice to know that someone else believes that too.”
Applications for this year’s REETAIN bonuses for family child care educators open on October 1, 2023. Applications for center providers open on April 1, 2024.