The Child Care WAGE$® Project is a statewide education-based salary supplement initiative that provides financial awards to eligible teachers, directors and family child care providers for each six-month period that the provider stays in the same early care and education program. WAGE$ helps to reduce staff turnover and make the early childhood profession more affordable and attractive to providers. As a result, children benefit from more consistent, qualified educators during the early years when brain development, the establishment of trust, and the promotion of learning are most important.  Higher awards are offered as more education is obtained, providing an important incentive for continued professional development.

The Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant supported two different WAGE$ models in 17 Northeastern NC counties. Those counties that fund WAGE$ with Smart Start dollars provided Tier One level supplements and the RTT-ELC grant provided enhancements to increase participant awards to Tier Two Higher Education Option (Tier Two HEO) levels. Tier Two HEO is one of the highest award structures offered by the WAGE$ Project. Participants in counties with no other supplement program received Tier Two HEO awards fully funded by the grant.

This Activity was completed in June 2016 in the four Transformation Zone counties.

RTT-ELC Reform Area: A Great Early Childhood Education Workforce