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Care work needs rebranding — and an influx of money

Lauren Kennedy, cofounder of Neighborhood Villages Action Fund, straightened T-shirts on a picnic table at Johnson Park Playground in Jamaica Plain on May 9 while advocating for universal, affordable early education and care on “A Day Without Child Care,” a national day of action.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

We must all be concerned by the ever-present racial and economic inequities in the caregiving professions (“For women of color in care work, says new report, racial and economic inequities abound,” Business, Sept. 1). The current workforce trends in these professions, particularly early childhood education, are marked by high vacancies and scarce job candidates and are stark reminders of the field’s instability and unsustainability.

Early education is critical to a child’s development and our economy, and our profession is on a precipice. Educator salaries are determined by fees parents pay and/or rates paid by the government for subsidized care. Parents in Boston are paying amounts for child care that exceed in-state college tuition, and they cannot pay more.


Money (a lot of it) and compelling marketing to attract job candidates are essential to revitalize and rebrand this fragile sector in decline. At this point, not only should continual professional development be easily accessible and free, but also financial incentives, funded by the government, should be considered to attract talent. Early education providers operating on razor-thin margins are already compelled to do this in a vain attempt to fill countless teacher vacancies.

When we make bold investments of money and messaging, we will go a long way to addressing racial and economic inequity that is both destructive and pervasive.

Lauren Cook

Chief executive officer

Ellis Early Learning