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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure buildup; and a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Donald Trump is formally put up for GOP nomination and picks Ohio Senator J.D. Vance as his running mate. Former presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy and swing state delegates consider ticket.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

$66 Million Grant Aims to Reward Nebraska Childcare Workers

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Monday, November 28, 2022   

As a way to reward those who have stayed in the child care field, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is offering $66 million in stipends and loan repayment grants to workers with at least six continuous months at a licensed child care facility in the state.

The state is using federal coronavirus funds for the grants.

In a survey of 750 Nebraska child care employers this year, 90% said they've had trouble finding and keeping workers. The average hourly wage in child care is $12.31 an hour, and many positions are part-time with no benefits.

Ashley Palumbo, a child care worker in Omaha, said although the state has not announced the grant amounts, it is a step in the right direction.

"I mean just the appreciation out the door that's something they are considering to help us financially, especially lately, means a lot," Palumbo explained. "I live paycheck to paycheck, so any sort of help definitely helps me and my kids out."

Applications will be accepted from Dec. 5 to Jan. 11.

In the same survey, 70% of child care employers also said some of their workers are leaving the field entirely. Palumbo noted she has no plans to change fields, although some find her choice hard to understand.

"Most of my interactions with people in my close life just don't seem to get why I stay in a profession that doesn't help out as much as easier areas can," Palumbo acknowledged.

Heather Schmidt, a home child care center owner-operator in Broken Bow, hopes both she and her employee will be awarded a stipend. Schmidt added she also plans to apply for the loan repayment grant.

"We're some of the lowest-paid workers in the state and the nation," Schmidt stressed. "Which they're always advocating for us to increase our education, but then it's really hard to pay back those loans."

Full- and part-time licensed child care employees can apply, from teachers to kitchen staff. Those who have earned higher degrees will be eligible for higher awards.


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