Child care workers in New Mexico eligible for $1,500 one-time incentive payment

New Mexico

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — Today, the New Mexico Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) announced that it will issue one-time incentive payments of $1,500 to New Mexico child care professionals, according to a press release by the ECECD.

Eligible workers include, teachers, administrative staff, cooks, and bus drivers and the ECECD stated that the grant is “in recognition and appreciation of their dedicated work since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” with the grant rewarding the challenges that these workers faced will caring for children.

“The dedication that child care workers have shown to this state’s children and families throughout this public health emergency is nothing short of heroic,” said ECECD Cabinet Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. “Even during the darkest days of the pandemic, child care professionals showed up every day to create safe and nurturing learning environments for our children. These one-time payments are a small way we can recognize and celebrate the invaluable service they have provided to our communities.”

According to the ECECD, child care workers are among the lowest paid workers in our economy, earning around $10 an hour, despite the important part that they play in the development of children. The organization added that one of the main goals is to “advance a well compensated, credentialed, and diverse early childhood workforce.”

The following is a list of steps that the ECECD is implementing to achieve its goals:

  • Awarding $157 million in grants to help child care providers stabilize their businesses and recruit and retain staff
  • Increasing child care subsidy payments to support a higher base wage for child care workers
  • Tripling enrollment in the ECECD wage supplement program for teachers making less than $16/hr
  • Launching a PreK pay parity program to better align private sector PreK teacher salaries with public school PreK teachers, increasing qualifying teachers’ annual income between 10 and 20 thousand dollars
  • Creating an $1,500 bonus for early childhood educators who are certified bilingual
  • Doubling the number of early childhood education scholarships we provided to early childhood educators seeking a professional certification or advanced degree

In addition, around $18 million of support for these one-time payments, is funded through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation (CRSSA) Act. The ECECD said that to be eligible applicants must be, employed full or part time in a licensed or registered child care program, and up to date with their background check.

Applications for the one-time incentive payments are open until Dec. 1, 2021 and for more information click here.

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