Early Learning Coalition launches recruitment campaign

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The Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida (ELCNWF) last week announced the launch of Kickstart Success, a new campaign aimed at addressing the critical shortage of childcare teachers in the seven-county region of Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, and Washington counties.

The campaign is meant not only to highlight the need for childcare teachers in Northwest Florida, but also to underscore the importance of their role in a child’s lifelong learning journey. The campaign encourages Floridians to give both their career and children’s education a head start at the same time by becoming a childcare teacher.

As part of the Kickstart Success campaign, ELCNWF has launched compelling advertisements through social media, television streaming, and out-of-home opportunities in the geographic region. The advertisements direct viewers to a campaign landing page, kickstartsuccessfl.org, where interested parties can get connected with childcare centers.

According to a recent survey of registered voters within the seven-county region, about half of residents (48 percent) believe there is a critical need or shortage of childcare teachers in their home area. This is the case for 70 percent of those with children under the age of 5, the primary attendees at childcare centers.

The survey also found that this profession is highly valued by residents in the area. Nearly nine in 10 voters (88 percent) in the seven-county region say their child’s childcare teacher made a positive impact on their future. Additionally, nearly nine in 10 agreed that childcare teachers are integral to a child’s life and early development.

“Childcare teachers kickstart lifelong learning and success for children in Northwest Florida, and this career path also helps them kickstart their career in early education,” said Suzan Gage, executive director of ELCNWF. “That’s what this important campaign is all about – highlighting this meaningful profession to the community and ensuring that there are enough childcare teachers available to give local children the headstart on their education that they deserve.”

The Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida works to provide Northwest Florida families access to high-quality childcare, supports to cover the costs of childcare, and other services and resources to ensure a child’s success in school and life.

The survey’s findings

Some of the key findings from a survey of 400 residents across the Northwest Florida region, conducted by The Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida:

  • 4 in 10 (42 percent) of residents with children age 5 currently have a child enrolled in an early education program.
  • Half (50 percent) of residents with children ages 5 through 17 report their child used to be in an early learning program. 
  • About half (48 percent) of respondents believe there is a critical need, or shortage, of early learning educators in the area they live. 
  • 70 percent of residents with children under age 5 believe there is a critical need, or shortage, of early learning educators in the area they live. 

Asked whether there is a high demand for early childhood educators, 69 percent of total respondents agreed. Below is a breakdown of the counties your readers are from:

  • 82 percent in Franklin County agreed.
  • 72 percent in Gulf County agreed.
  • 85 percent in Holmes County agreed.
  • 75 percent in Washington County agreed.

Asked if there is a critical need, or shortage, of early learning educators in the area,

  • 62 percent in Franklin County agreed.
  • 67 percent in Gulf County agreed. 
  • 52 percent in Holmes County agreed. 
  • 50 percent in Washington County agreed.

Asked the degree to which respondents agreed with the statement early learning educators are integral to a child’s life and early development:

  • 100 percent in Franklin County (net) agreed (responded ‘strongly agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’). 
  • 79 percent in Gulf County (net) agreed (responded ‘strongly agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’). 
  • 97 percent in Holmes County (net) agreed (responded ‘strongly agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’). 
  • 94 percent in Washington County (net) agreed (responded ‘strongly agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’). 

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