Announcing the Early Childhood Champion Awards

Featured Spotlight

The Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative (NECC), in partnership with the We Care for Kids campaign, is launching a year-long effort to highlight the importance of the early childhood workforce through the creation of a new award that publicly acknowledges and provides a $1,000 gift to 24 exemplary early learning professionals across the state.

Nebraska is facing a growing crisis around child care and early education. Serious staffing shortages are leaving parents without reliable care for their young children while they work or attend school, and our most vulnerable children without access to the quality early education needed to be prepared for success in school and in life.

“The Early Childhood Champion award was created to acknowledge the essential role of early educators to the well-being of young children and their families, the community, and the economy,” said Shannon Cotsoradis, CEO at NECC. “Simply put, Nebraska does not work without the early childhood workforce.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, child care businesses already struggling to get by were faced with quarantine closures, inconsistent attendance, expensive new protocols, and continued staffing shortages, forcing many to close. A February 2022 survey by the Buffett Early Childhood Institute of 750 child care providers found that two-thirds of child care employers experienced staff turnover, with nearly 7 in 10 providers saying staff were leaving the field of early childhood entirely.

“We all have a stake in making sure we have a quality early childhood workforce because they are an essential driver of the state’s economy,” said Cotsoradis. “For Nebraska employers to recruit and retain employees, there must be greater access to quality reliable child care. This award recognizes the professionals that make that possible.”

Nominate an Early Childhood Champion!

Learn more about the Early Childhood Champion campaign and ominate an early educator in your community, Nominations close on September 16, 2022.