In 2023, Minnesota lawmakers created the Great Start Compensation Support Payment Program, which provides funding to enhance compensation and benefits for early educators across the state. This program builds on a previous initiative called the Child Care Stabilization Grant Program. To receive funds, providers must be (1) licensed, certified, or registered; (2) in good standing with either the Minnesota Department of Human Services or their Tribe; (3) open, operating and serving children during the funding period; and (4) serve a minimum number of children during the funding period . Family child care providers, licensed centers, and certified centers are eligible to participate in this program.
100% of Compensation Support Payment funds must be used to increase compensation for all child care workers who regularly care for children in centers licensed or certified by the state or Tribe.
Family child care providers licensed by the state or a Tribe have more flexibility in terms of how they use their funds; for example, they may use funds to pay for personnel costs (e.g., salaries, bonuses, or benefits), rent or mortgage payments, equipment or supplies, or professional learning expenses.
Grant amounts are determined by the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff who regularly care for children. Providers participating in the Child Care Assistance Program, receiving Early Learning Scholarship payments, or located in a Child Care Access Equity Area are eligible for a 10% bonus on top of the original grant.
Minnesota Department of Human Services. (2023). Great Start Compensation Support Payment Program.
Minnesota Department of Human Services. (2023). Great Start Compensation Support Transition Grants Frequently Asked Questions.
Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:
The early education workforce is the foundation upon which all daily work and any expansion and quality improvement efforts rest. Research suggests that states and cities should invest in the workforce across all early education setting types, focusing on enhancing educators’ professional learning, compensation, and workplace conditions.
Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:
- Early educators play a critical role in supporting the well-being of young children and families across setting types.
- Yet their pay, benefits, and other professional supports are often inadequate in light of the job demands and their cost of living.