MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Emilie Amundson today announced that Wisconsin was awarded a Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) Renewal, totaling $30 million over the next three years.
Wisconsin previously received a $10 million PDG B-5 Planning Grant. That one-year funding helped the department gather information about Wisconsin’s early care and education system, grow best practices, and develop a strategic plan. The PDG B-5 Renewal Grant is based on the strategic plan developed by DCF, the Department of Public Instruction, and other partners, and which includes feedback and guidance from the department’s early care and education stakeholders.
“As I’ve said before, Wisconsin’s success is directly aligned with the health of our early care and education system,” said Gov. Evers. “The first five years are essential to the future success of our young learners, and we don’t get a do-over. The ongoing pandemic continues to sharpen our focus on our early care system and its the importance to our economy and society.”
The PDG B-5 Renewal will be provided in annual, $10 million allocations over the next three years. The grant will allow for the creation of a new Equity Advisory Council (EAC) focused on strengthening family and provider input to ensure Wisconsin’s early care and education system is more responsive to all children and families’ needs. It will also fund a new Workforce Grant opportunity for local public-private strategies to increase compensation and create new pathways for recruitment into the ECE workforce.
“Our goal is for all Wisconsinites to have access to quality, affordable early care opportunities,” said DCF Secretary Amundson. “When families cannot find care that fits their needs – which has happened during the COVID-19 pandemic – we lose people from our workforce. Disproportionately, those people are women. This is a serious issue of equity that threatens the future success of our state.”
Workforce issues also impact the early care and education system. Wisconsin’s PDG strategic plan found that “early care and education workforce is lacking professional respect, adequate pay, benefits, and diversity,” causing excess turnover and challenges in recruiting. To address those issues, Wisconsin will utilize part of the next round of PDG funds to bolster evidence-based best practices to support the early care workforce, including expanding cross-sector professional development opportunities focused on trauma and inclusion.
PDG B-5 grants are designed to provide states with the funding necessary to plan changes to their early care and education systems. Awards help offset the cost of those activities and must be spent within the calendar year they are awarded. For more information about Wisconsin’s PDG activities, visit DCF’s PDG webpage.