Perspective | Essential but unrecognized: More than money needed for early care and education industry – EdNC

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“If it was not for the governor, we wouldn’t have made it.”

The early care and education (ECE) industry needed financial support and respect long before the COVID-19 pandemic. The impacts of COVID-19 not only forced many closures and reduced access to child care for families across the board, but the essentiality of the industry also became evident.

In an industry historically plagued with limited financial resources and perpetual staffing issues, the circumstances of operating safely during the pandemic exacerbated the long-standing challenges and increased stressors faced by both public and private programs. Further, the heightened focus on ECE, as evidenced in operational grants from the government and daily adulation of early educators in the news and by families, highlighted what has been lacking for years.

The government and society as a whole have responded to the challenges faced in the early care and education industry during the pandemic. North Carolina administrators, directors, and teachers who participated in a recent study highlight recommendations for revitalizing and re-envisioning an ailing industry and for increasing respect for this essential and hazardous profession.

Those working within the early care and education field providing direct