Some preschool programs cancelling because of staff shortages

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — For weeks, local districts have voiced concern for a lack of bus drivers, lunch monitors, and even teachers. Now some preschools programs are having to cancel because of shortages.

That includes a few preschool programs at the YMCA of Greater Rochester. The Chief Operating Officer says that in all his 32 years working there, he’s never seen anything like this staffing shortage. 

These closures are going to affect around 80 families altogether, he says.

Two YMCA branches have canceled preschool this fall, the Bayview and Eastside branch. However, full dayside programs are not impacted.

Chief Operating Officer Kevin Fitzpatrick says he didn’t want to wait until the last minute, and adds that competition may be a leading reason.

“At one point we had 3 teachers we were putting through the hiring process, and then two of them decided to again not take the job or go somewhere else,” he said. “At a childcare paying someone $15 dollars an hour, they can go right down the street and work somewhere else for $16-18 an hour.”

Also – he says a lot of college students are heading back to school, leaving their positions behind.

“We’ve actually had them for about 16 months because they were home during COVID and we just haven’t got the new group of people to come in and work,” he said,

A similar situation is happening at Expressive Beginnings Childcare in Henrietta. 

“There is a lack of qualified candidates as well as candidates in general,” said Becky Meagher, Director, of Expressive Beginnings in Henrietta.”

Meagher says they’re not opposed to bringing on staff with lower qualifications upon hire – as long as they’re on board with growing into the industry and getting their Child Development Associate certification.

“You can get a CDA through the Child Care Council,” she said. “And as an organization, Expressive Beginnings helps our staff get enrolled for that,” Meagher said.

As for the YMCA, Fitzpatrick says they’re just going to take it day by day, as they continue the hire process. Right now, the two closures are just for the Fall. Fitzpatrick says they will assess reopening on Columbus Day.

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