The Early Childhood Educator (ECE) workforce will get some help through training and wage subsidies from Columbia Basin Trust (CBT).

Officials with the Trust said it is launching two new programs to help out the sector.

ECEs working in eligible, licensed facilities will be provided with a two-dollar per hour wage subsidy to enhance their hourly rate. Meanwhile, the second program will provide ECE Assistants (ECEAs) and ECEs working in licensed facilities with up to $12,000 in training wages to complete or upgrade their credentials.

“We heard from child care providers that low wages and high training costs are significant factors in the recruitment and retention of qualified staff which then impacts the availability and accessibility of child care in the Columbia Basin,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President and CEO at Columbia Basin Trust. “These new programs will help address these challenges with wage and training subsidies that will help child care professionals and new graduates remain in the region, while keeping child care affordable for families.”

Both programs will be operated through the College of the Rockies.

“Our local community organizations have told us there is a significant need for qualified Early Childhood Educators in our region,” said Tracey Whiting, Manager of Cranbrook Continuing Education & Contract Training at College of the Rockies. “The wage subsidy and training wage programs will go a long way in encouraging individuals to consider a rewarding career helping to shape the lives of young children.”