Groups partner to address staffing needs in child care industry

Stacy Wescoe//March 29, 2022

Groups partner to address staffing needs in child care industry

Stacy Wescoe//March 29, 2022

The United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley is getting involved in a statewide effort to address the worker shortage crisis in the child care industry. 

According to the agency, connecting individuals to employment has proven difficult throughout recent months, and the child care industry is no exception. A recent survey reports that nearly 100 classrooms are closed in the Greater Lehigh Valley and over 92% of programs have a staffing shortage. 

“With a staffing crisis greatly affecting our child care sector, access to high quality early learning and child care opportunities are decreasing for families. We are taking action to connect job seekers to open opportunities available,” stated Akshara Vivekananthan, director of school readiness for the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. 

Across the state of Pennsylvania, child care providers have faced serious challenges in staffing their facilities, which prevents them from providing the quality care they strive to maintain.  

In response to these shortages, hundreds of child care programs from across Pennsylvania are coordinating Child Care Hiring Days for PA from March 29 through March 31. 

United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley has partnered with PennAEYC, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Greater Valley YMCA and The Children’s Center to ensure that Lehigh Valley child care organizations have a presence and to raise local awareness of the statewide staffing shortages. 

 “When child care programs can’t open classrooms or open at all due to staffing issues, it makes it challenging for parents to work and ultimately impacts business productivity and the overall economy,” said Jen DeBell, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children, a statewide, non-profit membership organization that advocates for high-quality early care and education opportunities for children and families and appropriate compensation and support for the professionals that provide these programs. 

Over these three days, participating programs will host walk-in hiring events, featuring on-the-spot interviews at their locations. Many locations will be offering competitive salaries and benefits, signing bonuses, tuition reimbursement, continuing education and on-the-job training. 

“In a moment of truth, we know this hiring event is a temporary solution. We are counting on our legislators to save child care as we need continued investments so all children have equitable access to a healthy start,” Vivekananthan added. 

 This state-wide hiring event aims to simplify the job search and hiring process for job seekers, help participating programs reach potential applicants and promote the rewards of working in early childhood education.  

Interested programs can learn how to participate with the Child Care Hiring Days for PA by visiting ECEhire.com or emailing Akshara Vivekananthan at [email protected]. 

Job seekers can view the entire list of careers and locations performing interviews during the Child Care Hiring Event on ECEhire.com.