Worthy Wages NC Campaign

The Worthy Wages NC Campaign is building a movement to support the early childhood workforce. Launched in March of 2020, this grassroots initiative has brought together thousands of child care teachers and providers, parents, and community advocates to build public awareness and policymaker support for improving compensation and benefits for early educators.

Through weekly emails, participants receive advocacy opportunities, tools, and resources to make their voices heard for the workforce behind the workforce. From petitions, to direct email and phone call campaigns, to social media toolkits, the Worthy Wages NC Campaign puts a spotlight on the inadequate and inequitable compensation for child care teachers.

This campaign is structured as a state-level initiative with regional, community-based, or organizational advocacy “hubs” that customize advocacy opportunities and messaging for their networks, allowing us to have a wide reach that is still targeted.


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Fast Facts

Relevant Actions
State or Local? State
CountiesAll Counties
Lead Agency NC Early Education Coalition
Type of Agency


Racial Equity Lens
  • The low wages of the early childhood workforce disproportionately affect people of color. Our goal is to improve compensation for this workforce, which is 99% women and more than 50% people of color.
  • Disaggregated data shows a need to focus on infant-toddler teachers, who are paid the least and are most likely to be women of color.
  • This campaign lifts up stories from child care teachers, providers, and parents in traditional media, social media, and conversations with legislators.
Community Voice
  • We consistently center the voices of child care providers, teachers, and parents in this campaign through our public awareness and social media materials
  • We held a focus group of child care providers, teachers, and parents to help develop the social media toolkit
  • More than 2,000 people received weekly Worthy Wages emails from March-November 2021, resulting in 10,000 messages sent to legislators, 1,600 petition signatures, and countless social media and traditional media stories
  • More than 30 people traveled to Raleigh during the legislative session to talk to legislators about expanding the Child Care WAGE$ program and using federal funds for bonuses and deliver materials to all NC House members
  • Thanks to the campaign participants’ advocacy efforts, state legislators allocated federal funding for staff bonuses and strategies to build a pipeline of qualified teachers; the state’s Child Care Stabilization Grants also feature workforce compensation as a key component
Next Steps
  • Continue advocating and lobbying to expand the child Care WAGE$ program statewide
  • Continue advocating and lobbying for other compensation measures at the state and federal level to ensure an ongoing investment in professional compensation in benefits, in addition to salary supplements like WAGE$ and AWARD$
  • Continue to engage more child care providers, teachers, parents, and community members in this campaign and center their voices and stories
Primary Partners
  • Child Care Services Association
  • NC Partnership for Children
  • National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • NC Child
  • NC Budget and Tax Center
Primary Funders
  • Primarily funded through private donations and Coalition membership dues
  • Partially sponsored by Lakeshore
  • Partially sponsored by a grant from the North Carolina Early Childhood Compensation Collaborative
Contact Elaine Zukerman

Active Counties