Greater Minnesota Early Childhood Workforce Issues

The lack of early childhood care and education is particularly acute in Greater Minnesota.  In fact, a leading researcher has called this shortage “a quiet crisis.” In the metropolitan Twin Cities area, most children are cared for in child care centers.  In Greater Minnesota, children are primarily cared for in licensed family homes.  The number of licensed family childcare providers has decreased 30% since 2005 which means that finding child care, particularly infant care, can be really challenging.  This shortage of child care has been called a “quiet crisis.”  Marnie Werner, Reseach Director at the Center for Rural Policy and Development, has been reporting on this quiet crisis.  Click here for her 2016 publication and go here to watch a video with updated information.

The Minnesota Initiative Foundations issued a report in March of 2017 that analyzed the wages and rates for child care centers (did not include licensed family home care) in Greater Minnesota.  The average low and high wage for an aide was between $9.18 and $10.42 per hour.  The average low and high wage for an assistant teacher was between $10.26 and $11.61 an hour.  The average low and high wage for a teacher was between $11.65 and $14.65.  The report also contains information about staff benefits and education level.  Notable Child Care Center Director comments iterate the difficulty that they are experiencing with finding and retaining qualified staff.  A sampling of comments:

  • “In the 25 years I have been in this field, I have never had such a hard time finding staff. Once we get the staff, for the most part we keep them. Getting people in the door is the challenge.”
  • “We lost 4 employees in August/September to the local schools as paras. No education required and starting wage is over $15/hr. – can’t compete with that high wage.”
  • “Very difficult to get (find) qualified people to work for lower wages. We compete with higher wages paid to paras at the local schools, requiring zero education and experience, starting at $12 to $16 depending on the school.”
  • “We basically hire anyone willing to work for pay scale. Start as sub then work into position. Turnover always due to wage.“
  • “We have a problem hiring qualified staff and any staff at all. People are all looking for insurance.”

The full report can be found here:  Greater Minnesota’s Child Care Center Wage and Rate Survey Results


Growth & Justicelogo

The need for a stronger and more equitable Greater Minnesota through 2018 legislative priorities under the Minnesota Rural Equity Project reflects the need. the priorities that are illustrated in Growth and Justice’s ENEWs: Our 2018 Legislative Priorities and National Study on Shared Urban-Rural Vision includes: “Child care and early childhood development, more affordable workforce housing, broadband access, specialized Career Pathways training, Local Government Aid restoration, tax policy that benefits working families and statewide acceleration of our shift to renewable energy.”

The B8 Core team shares similar interests that can be described through the 5 priority areas of our plan.


Read this months ENEWs here.

Learn more about the work that Growth & Justice is doing here.