(WNY News Now) – Three Years After The Start Of The Pandemic, Child Care Workforce Continues To Operate Below Pre-Pandemic Levels; Bill Would Develop A New Generation Of Teachers and Help Alleviate Teacher Shortage.

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME) unveiled the Head Start for Our Future Act, a bipartisan initiative aimed at permitting college students eligible for federal work-study programs to work within early childhood education, including Head Start and Early Head Start. The legislation seeks to address the persistent staffing shortages within the child care sector that have endured for three years since the onset of the pandemic. By offering paid opportunities to college students interested in child care work, the bill not only mitigates workforce deficits but also nurtures a future generation of educators.

Senator Gillibrand stated, “Programs like Head Start help kids from low-income backgrounds succeed at school and beyond. They are critical to the health of our families and our communities. But too often, these programs struggle to attract and retain staff. My Head Start for Our Future Act would help build a robust early childhood education workforce by helping college students eligible for work-study gain valuable paid experience in this field while they finish their degrees.”

Senator Collins added, “By further integrating college students into Head Start and Early Head Start programs, we not only help create opportunities for those students but also provide a stronger foundation for the early development and education of future generations.”

Head Start and Early Head Start programs offer comprehensive child development services for low-income children, including early education, health screenings, and support services.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Tim Kaine (D-VA), with endorsements from the National Head Start Association, Children’s Aid New York City, and the Early Care & Learning Council.

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