The following three factors underscore why DLEC is engaging in a comprehensive five year journey to diversify and increase our funding base and more fairly compensate and support our childcare workforce:
1) Data from the Compensation Connections study of market rate analysis of positions at DLEC, completed in the fall of 2021, showed that DLEC was not as competitive as comparable organizations. The study recommended that DLEC increase our compensation to a competitive level in order to attract and retain the dedicated staff that make up the heart and mission of our organization.
2) The rising cost of living in Seattle/King County is pushing childcare workers out of the industry. Even though Seattle’s minimum wage increased, families have not seen a difference in their disposable income. Since 2020, we have seen a disturbing trend where increasing numbers of our workers are experiencing the same financial and personal crises as the families they serve.
3) The cost for DLEC to hire, support, and retain staff needed to run our high quality early learning programs has increased. DLEC funding, which is limited to highly prescribed grants, is not sufficient in amount, or flexible enough to simultaneously address the hiring, retention, health, and wellness building needs of workers, and daunting needs of the children and families they serve. The needs of workers and families will be further addressed by the Health and Wellness Initiative.
To achieve our goals, we have a detailed 5-year plan:
- Phase 1 (2023): Raise staff pay to 25% of the market rate.
- Phase 2 (2024-2025): Adjust salaries according to staff experience levels.
- Phase 3: Align staff salaries with the midpoint of the market rate.