Childcare facilities in Alabama are hurting to hire qualified staff

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Childcare advocates have seen a decrease in the number of people applying to some daycare centers in Alabama during the pandemic.

“There are so many factors that speak against anyone in the childcare business right now,” said Mary Sibert Davis, president of the Alabama Association for Early Care and Education.

The Alabama Association for Early Care and Education, or AALECE for short, is an advocacy group for high quality, affordable childcare in Alabama. Davis said she had heard of many institutions across the state struggling to find qualified candidates to fill vacancies.

“We just can’t take someone off the street, it takes hours of training before they can be alone in a classroom with kids and keep the relationship,” she said.

On top of the added pressure to find workforce during the pandemic, new figures from the U.S. Treasury Department show that the national average for childcare workers is $ 24,230 per year – about $ 11.65 an hour.

“I bet Alabama is closer to $ 10 an hour,” said Davis. “If that.”

With childcare workers in high demand, the Bible Babies Learning Academy in Montgomery provides incentives for people to apply. The company said it offers $ 25,000 free life insurance, medical care, eyesight, and dental insurance.

Before COVID-19, Pastor and CEO Lawrence Harkless said people were knocking on doors for jobs. Well, an online post deserves few replies.

“We can get 10 where we put that out before COVID, we get 80 or 90,” Harkless said.

“I really don’t know what the problem is keeping people from getting back to work,” he added.

Bible Babies has two locations in Montgomery. Overall, the day care service lost just over $ 200,000 in revenue.

The facility once had 21 employees before COVID-19. Around a dozen are now employed.

Bible Babies director Courtney Harkless said potential candidates will need health and safety courses, training, background checks, a TB test, and more.

“We have these children who really need adequate care, and we want to make sure that we continue to provide the best possible and safe care – and that cannot be done without a body,” she said.

Lawrence Harkless said that in order to make children successful, employees also need a passion.

“Our children need you,” he said. “Our children need reliable, loving people who have a heart for children and who believe that it is the elementary process that brings them to life, and that starts here with childcare.”

Those interested in applying to Bible Babies can call 334-649-1722, report on social media, or apply to Indeed.

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