Pilot Program Looks to Diversify Childcare Workforce Amid Shortages

NH Latino News


NASHUA — A four-week pilot program in Spanish, run by the Community Training Engagement Center, looks to address the state’s early childhood education labor shortage by supporting immigrant women to enter the workforce. 

The training looks to assist Latinas who may be interested in becoming in-home care providers or opening their own daycares. The Childcare Initiative is supported by the United Way of Greater Nashua and funding from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. 

Nine Latinas have recently graduated from the course—including Eloina Alvarado, who has an early childhood education degree in her home country of Honduras—according to New Hampshire Public Radio. The program looks to provide state-wide credentials to residents who may have informal experiences caring for relatives, friends, and neighbors or formal credentials in childhood education from their home countries. 

The course covers the legal requirements to be a childhood provider such as emergency planning, child development theory, and safety measures, commented Community Training Engagement Center Director Angela Mercado

Childcare services in New Hampshire continue to be inaccessible in terms of high costs and availability as over 40 child care centers across the state have closed in the past few years, according to the Public News Service. 

“Many of our child care providers are low wage earners and there are simply not enough child care workers to meet the demand in many centers,” commented Kids Count Policy Director Rebecca Woitkowski of New Futures.

Data from the Department of Labor shows that childcare in the granite state costs more than national averages. The average cost of an infant attending daycare is estimated to be over $14,000 a year in certain counties—nearly half of residents’ average income at $37,025. 

Experts point out that child care shortages are likely to continue, if not worsen, as pandemic-era funding ends this year. New Hampshire has received around $146 million federal funds since 2020 to support providers amid the pandemic. In the meantime, community and state-led efforts continue to come up with creative initiatives to support families across the state.

As the state’s Latino population continually grows, particularly among its youngest residents, so does the need for multilingual and culturally competent childcare services. 

The non-white child population increased by 47.9% between 2010 and 2020 while the non-Hispanic white child population declined by 18.7%, according to The Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center.

“If we open a daycare, we will be supporting other Latino moms,” Alvarado told New Hampshire Public Radio. “And any other [family] who needs it.”

This article is an aggregate of NHPR’s “As NH’s childcare worker shortage continues, immigrant women train to become the next providers” and Public News Service’s “Lack of Available Child Care Impacts NH Economy, Families“.