The Y Addresses Child Care Shortage with Wage Bump

The shortage of child care workers and youth development professionals in Dane County and beyond is well documented, and the YMCA of Dane County currently cares for more than 1,100 young people in its state-licensed after school child care programs. In order to serve more families, support and retain high-performing staff and recruit new talent, the Y is raising after school child care pay by as much as $4 per hour, effective immediately.

The starting wage for after school site supervisors and after school leads increases $4 per hour to $16.50 and $14 per hour, respectively. This wage increase puts the Y ahead of the local average starting wage for both positions, and we expect that it will not only reduce turnover but draw new applicants to these jobs as well. The Y is also expanding the overall pay range for both positions, raising the rate for the most-qualified, most-experienced staff $2.25/hour for site supervisors and $3 per hour for leads.

“This is a significant investment for the YMCA, and it is an important part of serving our community,” said President and CEO Mark Westover. “First and foremost, we help boost kids' confidence in a safe, active, healthy and engaging environment. Second, we provide peace of mind for parents and caregivers while they work to provide for their families. Finally, we believe that work is play when you love what you do, and the investment reinforces our commitment to maintaining a high-performing workforce.”

Community Coordinated Child Care, Inc. (4-C), a nonprofit child care advocacy and support services organization in Dane County, recently reported that 17% of Dane County child care providers had program vacancies, and 11% had completely unused classrooms, both because they could not adequately staff these operations. Additional Dane County data shows a 40% turnover rate for after school staff. By significantly enhancing starting pay for current and future after school staff, the Y supports its commitment to delivering the highest-quality child care experience.

Westover said, “Increasing our pay range for after school staff will help us retain the best and the brightest, attract new high-quality employees and ultimately assist area families by reducing the child care wait list in our community as additional staff allows us to expand capacity.” He added, “The Y is about doing more and filling society’s gaps.”

The YMCA provides before and after school programming at 29 elementary schools in the DeForest, Madison Metropolitan, McFarland, Middleton-Cross Plains, Monona Grove, Oregon, Sun Prairie and Verona school districts. The Y’s school age child care program is available to children aged 5–12, and the organization is currently hiring staff across its county-wide service area.