Job fair seeks to link childcare professionals with providers seeking workers

Farmington job fair is one of three statewide being held

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky visits with children at the Family Learning Center in Espanola for Teacher Appreciation Week in Spring 2020.
  • The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department is hosting a job fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 21 at the New Mexico Workforce Connection Center office at 3401 E. 30th St., Suite B, in Farmington.
  • The state is seeing about 800 people who listed early childhood professionals who are still showing up on unemployment, Groginsky said.
  • Tedrow also stated some employee love having a job where they work Monday through Friday, with no evening or weekend shifts and enjoy having holidays off. If they have small children, they can be into a class at the facility.

FARMINGTON — Area childcare providers will have a chance to seek early childhood professionals at an Aug. 21 job fair hosted by the state early childhood department. The goal is to help provide care for children as people return to work — and to get childcare professionals back to work and off the unemployment rolls.

The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department is hosting a job fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 21 at the New Mexico Workforce Connection Center office at 3401 E. 30th St., Suite B, in Farmington.

The state is seeing about 800 people who listed early childhood professional as a profession and who are still showing up on unemployment rolls, New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky said.

She believes some of the department’s initiatives will help employers locate childcare workers in the community.

New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky

“We wanted to be very proactive with the early childhood provider community in helping people think about coming back into the profession,” Groginsky said. “And also just reaching out to even other individuals who may be looking for work and rethinking their career to think about how fun and rewarding a career in early childhood education is.”

The early childhood department has learned from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions that finding childcare is one of the barriers to people returning to work, and providers are having trouble finding workers to open all their classrooms.

The state is holding three job fairs across the state, having hosted one in Las Cruces on Aug.14 and another one that is scheduled in Albuquerque on Aug. 28.

Groginsky hopes to see a large turnout at the job fair so people can learn about their scholarships offered to pursue a child development certificate and continue onward toward an associate and/or bachelor's degree.

Other initiatives include wage supplements, a bonus for bilingual certification and an upcoming $1,500 one-time payment for all early childhood professionals later this year.

Information will also be available from representatives for the department’s home visiting and early intervention programs.

Groginsky and Barbara Tedrow, owner of Gold Star Academy centers across Farmington, spoke to The Daily Times about employing early childhood professionals to help meet the demands of community members seeking childcare.

Tedrow said she is working hard to fill the open positions she has at her centers, including an infant teacher, a teacher for two-year-olds and a pre-kindergarten teacher.

“I have been struggling for about the past four or five months to fill the loss of the positions,” Tedrow said. “I have parents waiting to go back to work because I don't have the staff to open up the classrooms.”

She hopes to see more workers available when the federal enhanced unemployment benefits expire on Sept. 6.

When asked to “pitch” the community on a position in early childhood development, Tedrow said there are options to work in the field without working directly one on one with a child also.

There are options for employees to “float” between classrooms, providing support so teachers can work on development of lesson plans, and even help families find needed resources in the community such as rent support.

She also stated some employees love having a job where they work Monday through Friday, with no evening or weekend shifts, and enjoy having holidays off. If they have small children, they can also be placed into a class at the facility. 

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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