Summer is a time for family fun with thread!
During the summer months in Alaska, thread hosts and joins many community events throughout the state which include everything from activities for dads to street fairs - fun stuff for the entire family.
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Posted in thread News.
“It broke my heart, but I have a responsibility to be a good steward of public funds,” said Deborah Lo, Dean of the School of Education and Graduate Studies at UAS, who made the recommendation. In the Juneau Empire article, Lo said that the demand was never very high, and was dropping.
Lo was also quoted as saying the lack of demand for the early education program would continue “as long as we are not willing to pay our early childhood providers, and the salaries are so low,” she said.
A McDowell economic development study conducted for thread, Alaska's Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) network in 2010 reported that 7,300 early educators made up the early care and education workforce in Alaska. The workforce includes people working at licensed child care centers, licensed family child care homes and group homes, Head Start, private and public preschools and pre-kindergarten, infant learning programs and other early childhood settings.
Today, while many early educators are caring for Alaska’s children, their wages are equal to some of the lowest paying jobs in the economy, with the average monthly wage of an individual in this field being $1,494. This compares to $3,886 which is the overall average monthly wage in Alaska (the Department of Labor and Economic Development, 2009).
“It’s a struggle for early educators wanting to advance in their field with no promise of higher salaries as they gain more education and training, which we know leads to better quality child care,” Stephanie Berglund, thread's CEO said.
The closing of the program at UAS comes at a time when communities across Alaska are facing child care challenges and coming up with creative solutions. In Juneau earlier this year, an initiative to increase the recruitment and retention of qualified early educators was approved for full funding by the Juneau City and Borough Assembly .The HEARTS Initiative or Hiring, Educating, and Retaining Teaching Staff, suggests educational incentives, Child Care fee waivers and reimbursements for early educators as ways to improve the quality and availability of child care in Juneau.
The Juneau Assembly decision to support the HEARTS Initiative comes at the same time Alaska's Governor Sean Parnell signed into law three budget bills for fiscal year 2013 that include grant funding to thread in support for early educators in Anchorage, including a wage incentive program and funding to help child care providers replace outdated cribs.
thread will receive $1 million in funding, over three years to support the Alaska SEED ROOTS Awards and wage increases for early educators in Anchorage. Low wages are impacting Alaska's ability to recruit and retain professionals in the field of early education. The level of education and the consistent relationship between an early educator and the children they care for are both strong indicators of quality child care.
“Funding for the Alaska SEED ROOTS Awards is an investment to improve the level of quality education and raise the wages of the early childhood workforce in Alaska,” said Berglund.
thread will also receive funding for $75,000 to place cribs meeting new national safety standards in licensed early care and education programs in Anchorage.
For more information about thread services, please contact any thread office location.
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