Early Childhood Workforce Survey releases findings

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A study of 1,600 teachers and early childhood professionals across the state was released Wednesday. The findings were broken down in a panel, where professionals in the field shared what they thought was going well and where they wanted to see improvements.

"We really want to use this data to educate the state on what's going on out there, where this workforce is, what's important to them, what the circumstances are, they're doing really important work for children and families," said Susan Sarver, Director of Workforce Planning and Development, Buffett Early Childhood Institute.

The study found that the average wage for a teacher at a childcare center is $11/hr, while for pre-k through third grade teachers make around $21/hr.

It also stated that 73% of teachers felt prepared when they began their first job in the field, but 11%showed symptoms of depression.

Lisa Carlson has worked as an early education teacher for eight years.

"I think every one of us feels lucky to teach in Nebraska we know that Nebraska always does put an emphasis on education," said Carlson
Although she said she enjoys her job she still thinks people in the field face challenges.

"Pay for a lot of teachers especially the younger, birth through pre-k is low and we're entrusting our most prized possessions into those teachers," said Lisa Carlson, Norris Elementary teacher.

For now the group said they're going to focus on communicating the importance of early childhood workers and start working with the community to make changes.