Supporting the Workforce Through REETAIN

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The dynamics of funding in our early childhood education system creates quite a conundrum when it comes to wages for educators. For parents, the cost of child care can significantly strain their family budget. For educators, child care fees aren’t enough to fund a livable wage, which results in many leaving the work they love for higher income elsewhere. For young children, this disruption hinders their learning and development, which depends on strong attachments to consistent, caring, and knowledgeable adults.

Minnesota’s REETAIN (Retaining Early Educators Through Accessing Incentives Now) program helps reduce the financial stress of the early childhood workforce. A REETAIN Bonus is a small supplement to a qualifying educator’s wages and can be used for program supplies, training, or personal expenses. Educators who qualify for a bonus have demonstrated a commitment to the field by continuing their education and professional development.

Although current funding levels for REETAIN aren’t enough to award all educators who qualify, the program does offer support for many so they can remain in the early childhood education workforce and serve the children and families who need them. Here are just a few comments from past recipients:

“REETAIN has reaffirmed my commitment to my career by making me feel like I am being recognized for the level of education that I have in addition to my years of experience that benefit the families I serve.”

“REETAIN has allowed me to stay in child care. The money has allowed me to pay medical bills and do improvements to my child care home.”

“I chose to use my grant to further my personal financial goal of eliminating debt in order to afford a reliable car.”

“I went back to school and finished my degree. The grant paid for one class.”