Northern Windsor & Orange Regional Council Recap – July 2018
The Northern Windsor and Orange County Building Bright Futures regional council has been noticing and hearing that many early childhood employers have had challenges finding and retaining qualified staff not only in this region, but also across the state. Providers mentioned not being able to find any staff, let alone qualified staff despite Technical and Career Centers and colleges, some of whom closed early childhood training program due to low enrollment, now rebuilding training programs and trying to recruit students. Unfortunately, the workforce hasn’t kept up with the demand. This has had consequences in Northern Windsor and Orange County region with classrooms closing or prohibiting programs from expanding. The council decided to host its first ever Early Childhood Job Fair as a first step to raise awareness of both the need in the region as well as the variety of careers that one can have in the early childhood field. The purpose of this event was twofold:
- To provide a place for early childhood organizations to advertise positions and meet potential candidates.
- To increase knowledge for those interested in entering the early childhood field on the types of jobs available and resources available to help meet requirements.
The Early Childhood Job Fair was held in June with almost 20 different organizations, programs and educational institutions participating. One interesting thing to note that all those who had tables were given a survey and asked “what makes hiring people a challenge?” Each of those tables who completed surveys responded finding qualified candidates a challenge. We also surveyed job seekers who attended “What makes a career in early care and education difficult for you?” Each of these surveys submitted said “I don’t have the qualifications”. How do we support the efforts in the field of training programs for those wishing to enter the field? How do we connect those with qualifications to programs looking to hire?
The council plans on continuing its work to address the growing need of recruiting and retaining qualified employees as well as stay informed of statewide initiatives that are also addressing this challenge.