DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Early childhood education helps children learn and gives parents an opportunity to work.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the same problems are shedding a new light on issues in the workforce.

A set of problems have gotten worse. Finding qualified workers for these early childhood education centers and making sure they are payed well enough to stay on the job.

The state of Alabama has been receiving money from the Childcare Development Fund and now there is a grant available for licensed childcare early education programs in the state.

“That enables the rest of the world to go to work everyday,” Executive Director of the Alabama Partnership for Children, Gail Piggott said.

The Childcare Workforce Stabilization grant will provide a $1,500 stipend 4 times a year for every staff member of a licensed childcare center in the state of Alabama.

“To get people back in the field and to stay in the field,” Piggott said.

A meeting at the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce allowed people to voice their problems and look at possible solution.

The grants are just one of the options the Alabama Partnership for Children brought to the table.

They’re trying to take steps to tackle the big problem of providing and paying for early childhood education.

“Take baby steps with this,” Executive Director of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce Dean Mitchell said. “See if there are ways that we can make a small impact. We are not going to be able to solve this overnight.”

States, counties, and cities also have funds from the American Relief Fund which could provide these early childhood centers a chance to keep workers or even just keep the lights on, but this money won’t last forever.

“How do we make a meaningful one-time investment using this emergency funding,” Piggott said.

The Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce tells WDHN News, that they are looking at where companies can help invest and where the community can invest in this problem, to try and create opportunities for children and parents.