Cerro Gordo Child Care WORKS Initiative looks to solve childcare worker problem

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(ABC 6 News) – The average childcare worker is paid just under $10 an hour in Iowa and local leaders are looking to address the issue.

Wages play into the fact of the low number of childcare workers.

“You have to have childcare and good trustable childcare, at least for me, and I know it’s not easy to come by because they’re so full all the time,” Mason City resident Scott Pearce said.

The Cerro Gordo Child Care WORKS Initiative held an open discussion to give childcare workers a chance to share what they would like to see.

It received a $100,000 grant from the de Beaumont Foundation so they can host these workshops and hear from the community.

“How do we get people in the workforce, but then also keep people in the childcare setting as providers,” Child Care WORKS Initiative facilitator Kelli Gerdes said.

The initiative proposes a wage supplement program that would increase pay for childcare workers, but they also want better benefits like retirement and insurance.

Then hopefully, the wages for childcare workers will go up without raising the rates of their services for families.

“Ultimately our end game is to take the evidence and the stuff that we’re finding and practicing here in our community and show that it’s successful so that we can advocate with our legislators and show them that just like public education, early childcare deserves the same support from the state,” Gerdes said.

There’s still a lot of work ahead and they hope to hold more discussions in the fall to gather more information from the community to best serve them.