Clarke County parents and local businesses are in a bind. With school starting in just days and the workforce transitioning away from working-at-home, waiting lists for quality daycare services are growing and becoming a concern for everyone. The Village Early Childhood Center in Osceola is doubly concerned. As working parents call, waiting lists grow. Finding qualified daycare team members has become a true challenge.
“At capacity, we’d be able to have 221 children in our care,” said Village Executive Director, Crystal Hansen. “Currently, we’re at 99 with 40 kids on a waiting list. And that continues to grow until we can hire additional staff.”
Opened in 2002, The Village Early Childhood Center has been one of the largest licensed childcare centers in south-central Iowa. The center provides care for children 6 weeks to 12 years, offers 3-year-old preschool, and works with the Clarke Community School district for 4-year-old preschool. They also offer before and after school daycare for Clarke students and have extended hours (5:30AM to 5:45PM) for parents who need earlier or later access to daycare options for specific shift schedules with local manufacturers. But with staffing challenges, these services may have to be reduced to comply with state regulations.
“We know everyone in the area is being impacted by these shortages,” said Hansen. “Our goal is to make sure we have the team in place to provide the safest environment possible for their children.”
Currently, the positions that are of highest priority are Teacher Associates. While these are State-certified positions, applicants can get that certification, at no cost, through The Village as part of their onboarding process. The Village also covers costs for physicals and other necessary appointments.
Ideally, applicants will be 18 years or older to be allowed to work solo with the children, but those as young as 16 are encouraged to apply and can work within the team environment. Salaries for these positions are contingent on experience and are very competitive within the industry.
Those interested can apply through The Village’s Facebook page (click to go now) or they can request a paper application from the office at 2500 College Drive in Osceola, Iowa.