Thanks in part to salary supplements provided by the WAGE$ Program, Carrie Theall, the Executive Director for the Alamance County Partnership for Children, explains that Alamance has been able to significantly increase the overall education level and retention of their child care workforce, which in turn greatly benefits the children in their care.

Erica Booker is a long-time participant of WAGE$, and has received awards based on having a Bachelor’s Degree with significant coursework focused on children ages birth to five. She has remained in her current program since 2003! She is not only a recipient, but a member of our Advisory Committee. Here, Erica talks about how WAGE$ has helped her stay in her child care center and other ways it has made a difference in her life.

After receiving WAGE$ for many years, Shartarka Carmon was such a strong advocate for the program that she was invited to join and share her knowledge and experience with our Advisory Committee. In this video she talks about how WAGE$ helped her achieve her degrees! She now helps other teachers access the program.


When Davina Woods was asked how she became interested in early childhood, she said, “I entered the profession as an undercover helicopter mom! I had just placed my son in child care and I couldn’t stand not being there and seeing what and how he was doing.” Her child’s center hired her as a part-time school age group leader before she eventually found her calling with young children and their teachers. She started with no education and now she is in the master’s program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro… [Read More]

Julie Delair has operated her family child care home in Brunswick County since 2008. “I always remember thinking this was going to be my career. I always wanted to work with children,” she said. She joined the Child Care WAGE$® Program at the entry level of education, which at the time was six semester hours of early childhood coursework, and she moved up the WAGE$ scale, earning higher awards each time, and now has her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education! Getting her degree, though, was not easy, which is the case for many in the field who have the interest, but are faced with a variety of challenges… [Read More]

Kellie Toney is an early childhood educator in Cleveland County. As a recipient of Child Care WAGE$®, she sent the following letter to her North Carolina legislators: “I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your support of the WAGE$ program funded through Smart Start. Without this supplement, I would not have had the opportunity to complete my Bachelor’s degree while working as an assistant teacher with Cleveland County Schools. The checks I have received through this program have [gone] towards my tuition and textbooks. Without this program, I likely would not have been able to get through school without student loans…” [Read More]

Determined. Dedicated. Committed. Those are just a few words that describe Child Care WAGE$® participant, Ellen Devenny. Ellen works as an assistant teacher at a five-star private NC Pre-K center in Gaston County, and just graduated in May 2019 with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education with a 4.0 GPA. She walked across the stage at age 62. “…I would not have been able to have done this without the support of programs like T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$. Because of my education, I feel more confident as a teacher.” [Read More]

Stacey Graham always loved working with children and started out as a substitute in the public schools. A friend opened a family child care home and shared how much she loved it and how rewarding it was. Stacey decided to follow suit and hasn’t looked back. She has operated her own program since 2007 and from the outset she understood the importance of… [Read More]

“I don’t always look back at my own journey. Doing so lets me know I’ve been through a lot and I made it. I’m still making it. I’ll have my Bachelor’s degree soon!” Naukisha Wray-Darity is now back in school after many years without the financial means to do so. She had exhausted her pell grant and federal funding on past education and her center was not originally participating on the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Program because… [Read More]

“I had to work when I was 15 years old,” said WAGE$ participant Maria Milla. “My country, Honduras, is very difficult, very poor. I had to move to a bigger city and live with relatives to be able to study. I wanted to be a teacher, but that required day classes. I had to work during the day, so I studied something else, but my dream was always to be a teacher. When I played school as I child, I was always the teacher!” Maria’s dream came true when… [Read More]


“WAGE$ provides teachers an incentive to further their education. Participating in WAGE$ is equivalent to receiving a bonus each year or recognition for your efforts to increase your knowledge to become more effective in the classroom. Our staff loves Child Care WAGE$® and the excitement demonstrated when I inform a teacher that WAGE$ just called for an employment confirmation is no less than a child on Christmas morning.” (participating director)

“WAGE$ was a real inspiration for me to complete my four-year degree. … Child care is one of the lowest paying jobs, but is a super important one! It takes a special person to work with children. The WAGE$ Program helps make up the difference and encourages workers to continue their education in order to help the field develop.” (participating teacher)

“Thank you for seeing how important quality child care is and for providing us, the workers, with this supplement. Without it, many good teachers wouldn’t be in child care and many children wouldn’t be able to have a high quality child care experience. This supplement is so appreciated.” (participating teacher)

“I think the supplement is the best thing ever! I thank you from the bottom of my heart, because the supplement has been an inspiration to me and others to stay in this field and to keep helping children in our community.” (participating teacher)