Recognizing the importance of Labor Day and the Early Childhood Education Workforce
This Friday is September 1st, which marks two months since the official launch of the Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC). Friday is also the start of Labor Day weekend, an important time to recognize Oregon’s child care professionals who have a great responsibility to care for and educate our children in their earliest years.
DELC was created to unify and strengthen Oregon’s early learning and care system. The strength of this system is largely held by the child care and early educator workforce who provide critical care and support to children and families across Oregon.
In Oregon, 60% of children under age 6 have both parents in the workforce, making child care the workforce that supports all other workforces. When parents lack access to quality child care, our economy is affected. Fifty-four percent of Oregon employers say that access to child care impacts their ability to hire and/or retain employees, and 33% of businesses felt that child care issues factored “a great deal” into loss of productivity for employees. As a result, Oregon is estimated to have lost $1.4B in revenue due to the lack of infant and toddler child care alone.
However, child care continues to be an under-resourced and undervalued profession. Our latest data shows that child care workers earn an average of $13.00-18.00/hour, and often do not have access to benefits like healthcare, retirement or sick leave. In a recent survey, 26% of Early Childhood Education providers ranked at the level of anxiety that could indicate they need to get screened for clinical diagnosis, a rate more than 5 times that in the general population.
In our efforts to strengthen Oregon’s early learning system, DELC will continue to develop a cohesive professional learning system, grow the overall workforce and reduce barriers to child care while maintaining health and safety for children in care.
As we head into Labor Day weekend, remember the workforce that helps you get to work and thank the child care worker or early educator in your life.
Department of Early Learning and Care Director