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NH gun-safety advocates advise services, bipartisan laws after deadly shootings; Food banks, pantries address rising food insecurity during winter holidays; Despite cost debate, some MN businesses intrigued by paid-leave law.

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Muslim American leaders in swing states like Michigan threaten to Abandon Biden, VP Harris criticizes greenwashing at COP28, former congresswoman Cheney calls the GOP a "threat," and George Santos is expelled.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Deadline Here for Alabama DHR Childcare Grants

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Wednesday, August 30, 2023   

Today is the last day for licensed child care providers in Alabama to apply for Child Care Workforce Stabilization grants from the state.

Child care is an industry still recovering from the pandemic, in terms of hiring and keeping workers. The Alabama Department of Human Resources has been awarding grants to help child care providers recruit and retain their staff. They allow a center to offer quarterly bonuses of $3,000 dollars for full-time employees, and $1,500 for part-time workers.

Bernard Houston, director of care services for the Alabama Department of Human Resources, acknowledged the importance of the funds.

"We have surveys that we do, and we continue to do those on about a quarterly basis," Houston explained. "One of the consistent things that we hear from providers is that were it not for those workforce bonuses, many of them would have actually had to close their doors."

Houston noted child care workers are some of the lowest paid. The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment said even with a college degree, Alabama early childhood educators are paid about 35% less than their colleagues who teach in Kindergarten through the 8th grade.

Houston pointed out to be eligible for the Child Care Workforce Stabilization grants, providers have to be licensed and operating in good standing with the Department of Human Resources. They must also remain in operation for at least one year after a grant is awarded. He hopes the grants will make a difference to the people in a challenging career field who ultimately receive the bonuses.

"I'm hoping that long term, especially for newer recruits, I'm hoping that people who stay in the field will be passionate about it, they'll learn to love it, and hopefully stay in the field and just move up," Houston stressed. "And just find that trajectory towards becoming directors and sustaining child care."

Since the initiative was first announced in November 2021, the Department of Human Resources has awarded more than 10,000 grants to child care providers. The two-year grant period, set by federal law, ends in September.


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