Challenges Finding Caregivers and Educators for Children


"My job is to build humans," John Searles, superintendent of Midland County's Educational Service Agency, tells

That's why he's pushing a plan that would see every 4-year-old in Michigan attend preschool by the time they turn 5.

The proposal, which still needs to be approved by the state legislature, would save families an average of $10,000 on childcare costs, according to a press release from Gov.

Gretchen Whitmer's office.

"One year of high-quality preschool increases the likelihood that children are literate, graduate from high school, and move on to college or a post-secondary training program," says Searles, who's also on the Child Care Innovation Team.

The team, formed in the summer of 2022 to deal with the childcare crisis in Midland and the surrounding area, has so far received three grants to help recruit and train new educators, reports

"There is this misconception that there is no room for advancement in a career in early childhood education," Searles says.

"People looking at this career path need to understand that they are not babysitters, and they may not end up in a classroom."

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