North Carolina’s Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$ Plus program provides supplemental pay to infant-toddler educators based on their education level and commitment to their early education program. This program is designed to retain and support the professional development of early childhood educators; in turn, this creates a more stable workforce with the skills needed to support young children’s healthy learning and development. It also responds to inequities within the early education system, where infant and toddler teachers typically receive less financial and professional support than their colleagues who work with older children. Bonuses range from $600 to $4,000 per educator per year, with an average payment of $2,576. Amounts increase as educators obtain more formal education, and educators must remain in their early education program for at least six months to qualify for an award. In FY22, Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$ Plus North Carolina provided supplements to 1,337 educators; turnover among recipients was 16%, which is lower than the estimated 26-40% turnover rate among educators in licensed child care programs nationwide.
Child Care Services Association. (n.d.). Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$ Plus.
Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:
Learn More about 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.