Workforce Report Coverage

Below is a round-up of coverage about NHSA’s recent workforce report, Confronting Head Start’s Workforce Crisis.

This federal program provides free child care for eligible families. It can’t find staff

June 30, 2022 – Classrooms across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex sit empty this summer as organizations that operate the federally funded child development program Head Start struggle to attract and retain enough staff to keep them open. In Fort Worth, leaders say the crisis, which has crescendoed since the end of pandemic-era lockdowns.

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Column: Early childhood workers in critical need of pay boost

June 9, 2022 – Recently the National Head Start Association urged Congress to take action to address the dramatic workforce issues facing Head Start providers nationwide. Long-neglected workforce underinvestment, conflicting COVID-19 protocols, and the rising impact of inflation have caused providers to struggle to meet the needs of the nation’s most vulnerable children and their families.

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Head Start in ‘crisis’ as public schools hire the agency’s teachers

June 5, 2022 — A nationwide shortage of public school staff has trickled down to Head Start, which is losing many of its most experienced teachers to higher-paying school district jobs. In Albany, Head Start is running with about 70 percent of its normal staff. The agency is advertising to hire 10 to 15 teachers, who need at least an associate’s degree, and more than 20 teacher assistants. Staffing is getting so dire that they have started offering signing bonuses of $3,000 to $5,000 for lead teachers.

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‘We can’t out-pay Walmart’: Head Start classrooms close after staff turnover

June 3, 2022 — Increased staffing shortages following COVID-19 classroom closures are leading some Head Start programs to once again shutter their doors — this time, permanently.  “We’re facing a major workforce crisis,” said Tommy Sheridan, deputy director of the National Head Start Association. “We don’t have the qualified staff that are able to keep up with the amount of children that we would want to be serving.”

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Democrats Propose Historic Child Care Investment Through Reconciliation

May 23, 2022 — It’s been more than two years since child care program closures shined a spotlight on our nation’s fragile child care system. And while other aspects of the economy have shown signs of recovery, the child care sector continues to be in crisis. Families cannot find and afford reliable care, providers are closing their doors, and long-time early educators are leaving the field because of unlivable wages. This is a classic example of a market failure⁠— this crisis is not going to solve itself and requires government intervention.

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‘We’re Sounding the Alarm Bells’ Head Start Report Underscores Workforce Crisis

May 18, 2022 — Earlier this month, as thousands of early childhood educators and advocates gathered in Baltimore for the 2022 National Head Start Annual Conference, attendees exchanged first-hand accounts and anecdotes from the field, sharing what the last couple of years have been like for them and what it’s like right now. Tommy Sheridan, the deputy director of the National Head Start Association (NHSA), a nonprofit advocacy and professional support organization for Head Start, was hearing stories about just how challenging it is to be in early childhood education right now. And it’s not because of COVID-19—not directly, anyway. It’s because many programs find themselves in the throes of a staffing crisis, due to high turnover and low wages, two issues facing the profession long before the pandemic that have made it all but impossible to keep classrooms full and doors open on a consistent basis. 

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Head Start workforce ‘pushed to a breaking point,’ group warns

May 16, 2022 — Almost a third of Head Start staff positions, on average, are going unfilled as early childhood educators are fleeing the field for better pay, a survey found. More than half of all respondents said compensation is the top reason for staff leaving, and 85 percent indicated staff turnover was higher than in a typical year, according to a survey of more than 900 people conducted by the National Head Start Association. Working conditions, including burnout, is the second top reason. A high majority of respondents, about 90 percent, also said they have closed some classrooms permanently or temporarily due to lack of staff.

Read the full article.

About NHSA

The National Head Start Association is committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than 840,000 children and families from systemically underserved populations, 250,000 staff, and 1,600 Head Start grant recipients. ••• Media Contact: media@nhsa.org

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