The Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska recently released the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Survey.
Susan Sarver, Buffet Institute Director of Workforce Planning and Development, says the study was conducted with assistance from the Bureau of Sociological Research at UNL.
Sarver says they wanted to do the study because they know how important Nebraska’s early childhood providers and teachers are to the state.
She says nearly 80% of children under the age of 5 are in some form of paid care.
Sarver says the report looks at who these teachers and care providers are, as well as their strengths and the challenges they face.
"The average experience in the field is 12 years or more across all of the settings we sampled. So these professionals are really committed to being in this field and they have been in the field for a long time. They have some really good experience. We also saw that across all the settings, teachers are doing a lot of professional development and trainings.”
Sarver says one of the biggest surprises to come out of the report has to do with low wages. She says nationally, wages are low in the early childhood field but particularly for center-based teachers.
She says the median salary in Nebraska is $8,706, which is over $7,000 below the poverty level for a family of four.
To view the report, the website is buffettinstitute.nebraska.edu.