MASON CITY, Iowa - Childcare providers nationwide are finding themselves still dealing with staffing shortages, and North Iowa providers are not immune to them.
At Newman Childcare and Preschool, Director Kendra Mennen has never seen an up and down staffing cycle.
"We'll get some hired, and something falls through with the new hires, or staff leave for another offer and things like that. When school started, I lost three staff to the schools. They went in as paras, just as hired three more staff. I gain some, I lose some."
Within the last week, four employees have left, and are currently recruiting through Facebook and LinkedIn. Fortunately, Mennen adds that two high schoolers will soon be joining the staff after their respective sports seasons conclude.
It's not just her running into issues; she and other other childcare directors meet once a month to discuss issues they're facing.
"We're all struggling with the same thing. Staffing is a tough issue right now, everyone's posting it. We've raised wages and things like that, and it's just hard to get people in the door."
Mennen and the families her staff serves are greatly appreciative of those who are staying on staff daily, and have offered tokens of thanks through rewards like lunches and donation of gift cards to staffers. In addition, if staff referred someone to childcare and they are there longer than three months, they can receive $250 in Newman scripp.
During these tough times, Mennen highlights the importance of childcare.
"Childcare is essential. if it wasn't for childcare providers, your law enforcement couldn't be there, your nurses couldn't be there, your doctors couldn't be there, your first responders couldn't be there, because who's going to watch their children? Us."
Due to the staffing shortage, Mennen says Newman is currently not accepting openings for new families.
In addition, Tugs Daycare and Preschool announced they would be cutting back hours, now operating from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., five days a week, beginning Monday, October 18. This will be evaluated on a weekly basis.