Head Start’s Ongoing Workforce Crisis

At the start of the 2022-23 Head Start and Early Head Start program year, the National Head Start Association surveyed grant recipients September 6-9, 2022, to determine the extent to which workforce struggles continue to be an ongoing problem. This follow-up to our May 2022 brief includes direct feedback from 378 Head Start and Early Head Start grant recipients, representing 24% of recipients.

Key survey findings include:

  • 17% of Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms were closed the week of September 6
    • Of those with closed classrooms, 77% cited staff vacancies as the primary reason
  • 18% of staff positions were vacant nationwide
  • 77% of respondents report that staff vacancies are higher than usual.
    • 79% cited compensation as the driving force behind vacancies
    • 66% noted a lack of candidates with required qualifications
  • As a result of this ongoing workforce crisis, current enrollment relative to funded enrollment, as of September 9, was approximately 73% for Head Start and 77% for Early Head Start.

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