SANTA FE – Today, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a new grant available to child care providers that will increase wages for staff by $3 an hour across the board, raising the wage floor to $15 an hour for entry-level workers and $20 an hour for lead teachers.  

Early childhood educators are some of the lowest paid workers in the economy, and the low wages pervasive in the industry remain the single largest barrier to staffing classrooms and expanding child care access in the country. The new grant, Competitive Pay for Professionals (CPP), which is initially funded with $77 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars, will provide a critical support for child care providers statewide who are struggling to recruit and retain educators for their classrooms. The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) projects that at least 16,000 child care staff across the state stand to benefit from the pay raise provided through the CPP grant. Applications will open on November 1. 

“Early childhood workers have always been underpaid relative to the importance of the work they do,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.

“We need to attract and retain the best talent to ensure the youngest New Mexicans get the high-quality early education they deserve. My administration has already delivered historic pay raises for K-12 teachers, and it’s time to take the next step to ensure that early childhood educators and staff are paid a fair and competitive wage as well.”

“After visiting 25 communities across New Mexico during my statewide tour this spring, far and away the most pressing issue child care providers reported was difficulty staffing classrooms,” said ECECD Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. “We’re in a situation where the market can’t support the wages that attract the qualified professionals that we rely on to educate and nurture our children during their most important developmental years. This is a win for all New Mexicans. The new wage supplement not only benefits early childhood educators, but also the child care providers who employ them, local economies that depend on child care for their workforce, families that rely on child care to work or attend school, and the young children developing the skills that will help them thrive at school and beyond.”

“The future of New Mexico is found in the hearts and minds of our youngest learners,” said Angela Garcia, President of the New Mexico Child Care and Education Association. “Our early childhood educators are critical in building that future.  This is the first step in recognizing them with a livable wage, without adding additional financial burdens on families. This investment will allow New Mexico to begin building a strong and sustainable workforce that will impact children and families for decades.”

The state created the CPP grant opportunity in response to a growing early childhood professional shortage felt in communities across the state, especially in rural areas, with a majority of child care programs reporting one or more classrooms closed due to lack of qualified staff. Under CPP, the state will provide funding to any applicant among New Mexico’s 951 licensed child care programs that attests that staff will receive a $3/hour wage increase.

Multiple studies show that low pay for early childhood educators leads to high turnover and poorer outcomes for students, while higher pay improves educator retention and creates more stable relationships that help young children thrive in early education programs. The CPP grant is part of a wider strategic effort by the State of New Mexico to build and support a diverse, credentialed, and well-compensated early childhood workforce that is the backbone of a high-quality early education system. The governor has spearheaded multiple early childhood workforce support efforts, including:

  • Cost of living stipends for more than 800 early childhood professionals seeking advanced degrees in the field
  • Free college tuition for early childhood educators through the ECECD scholarship program/New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship
  • Incentive payments for early childhood educators who continued caring for children through the COVID-19 pandemic
  • A PreK Parity Program that ensures that PreK teachers who work in community-based settings receive compensation that is similar to teachers who work in public school-based settings
  • Bilingual/Indigenous incentive, available to early childhood professionals certified bilingual by accredited Tribe or program.
  • The ECECD Career Pathways Guide, which outlines steps, options, and financial supports for continuing education to better prepare individuals for multiple career options in early childhood.

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option above this to the right, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/about/submissions. They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a cheaper and shorter option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to editor@grantcountybeat.com and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

It has come to this editor's attention that people are sending information to the Grant County Beat Facebook page. Please be aware that the editor does not regularly monitor the page. If you have items you want to send to the editor, please send them to editor@grantcountybeat.com. Thanks!

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised.