JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — You can call it a daycare dilemma, or a school staffing shortage, but the owner of Minds of the Future Academy in northern Jacksonville says she’s going through an employment emergency.
”It’s a shortage of hiring and employing and retaining teachers," said Dr. Cynthia Smith.
Smith says she needs five full-time teachers to adequately staff her campus.
However, finding and keeping them has become a full-time job for her. It wasn’t always like that.
”It’s disheartening right now to have to tell parents that we can’t take any more kids," she told First Coast News.
Smith says higher wages offered at fast-food restaurants or the weekly unemployment checks and monthly child tax credits are keeping people from applying. ”Not to compare, but if McDonald’s is offering $14 an hour and the average wage in a childcare facility is less than that, there is no way you can compete with that," Smith said.
She has thought about what happens if there are too many kids and not enough employees. It would mean closing or having to turn some families away.
”There have been times where I thought that I am going to have to close the daycare but then I begin to think about the employees that are working, that do come to work faithfully for children and families," Smith explained.
She’s even giving financial incentives for those who are hired and stay, but she wants more to be done by the state and the city to ensure business owners like her feel supported.
"As an owner, I have tried every avenue that I can to get people here to work. But, what is the suggestion that they have from the elected position that they are in?" she asked.
If you would like to apply for a job at Minds of the Future Academy, click here.