What is the Afterschool WAGE$ FLORIDA Project?
The Afterschool WAGE$SM FLORIDA Project is designed to increase stability and improve afterschool program quality by reducing turnover and encouraging continued education of afterschool practitioners. This program provides education based salary supplements for low to moderate wage earners who work with children and youth in grades K-12.
Afterschool WAGE$ FLORIDA Project Overview
- The WAGE$ program provides education-based wage supplements to low-paid afterschool practitioners working with children and youth in grades K-12.
- Subject to funding, ongoing WAGE$ supplements will be paid directly to the afterschool practitioner on a biannual basis.
- This program is NOT funded by afterschool programs or employers.
- WAGE$ supplements are NOT to be considered bonuses or stipends to replace employee raises.
- There are NO requirements on how WAGE$ supplements are used by afterschool practitioners.
- Participants must remain in the afterschool program in order to be eligible for the biannual WAGE$ supplements.
The Afterschool WAGE$ FLORIDA
- Rewards Attained Education: Supplemental award amounts are based on the level of education an individual has already attained.
- Rewards Permanency: Supplements are disbursed in six-month increments, after the recipient has spent a continuous six-month period in the same afterschool setting.
- Maintains Marketplace Competition for Better Salaries: Supplements vary based only on education attained, not on wages earned.
- Does Not Increase Costs to Parents: Because funding for this project comes from external sources and goes directly to individual afterschool practitioners, families can have the benefit of better-educated afterschool practitioners without having to pay more.
- Integrates with Other Education and Compensation Initiatives: This program builds on and coordinates with the Prime Time and T.E.A.C.H. Afterschool Scholarship Programs. Whereas the Prime Time and T.E.A.C.H. Afterschool Scholarship Programs reward afterschool practitioners seeking more education and helps them attain it, the Afterschool WAGE$SM FLORIDA Project rewards those who have already attained education and helps keep them in their afterschool programs.
- Provides a Direct, Graduated Supplement that is Logical and Sufficient: Supplements reward individual professional development efforts regardless of the work environment, and address low wages without affecting budgets, regular wages or parent fees. Amounts are sufficient to make a difference, and the scale levels and awards represent logical progress in the educational system.
What are the Benefits of WAGE$?
- Rewards afterschool practitioners within programs.
- Rewards attained education.
- Maintains marketplace competition for better salaries.
- Keeps costs for quality afterschool programs affordable for parents.
- Assists with the creation of a stable, well-trained, well-compensated workforce.
- Provides a direct, graduated supplement that is logical and sufficient.
- Provides counseling and administrative support.
Who benefits from WAGE$?
- Children and youth benefit from uninterrupted care from practitioners who are specialists in the afterschool field, who understand youth development and who are sensitive to their needs.
- Afterschool practitioners benefit because they achieve higher levels of education and are better compensated for their work.
- Afterschool programs benefit because they have staff members who are knowledgeable about good youth development practices and stay longer in their programs.
Who is Eligible?
The basic program provides services to those afterschool practitioners who:
- Work in a Palm Beach County afterschool program participating in the Quality Improvement System (QIS)
- Work in a licensed or licensed exempt afterschool program
- Earn less than $17.50 per hour as an afterschool practitioner
- Are continuously employed at the same afterschool
- Work at least 15 hours per week with children and youth in grades K-12
- Have one of the education levels listed below (from a regionally accredited college)
- Palm Beach participants can only participate in one WAGE$ program at a time
How Do I Apply?
In order to participate in the project, interested afterschool practitioners must complete an application. The applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply:
- Fill out an application
- Afterschool Wages Information Brochure
- Afterschool Wages Supplement Scale
- Provide verification of current employment
- Provide verification of current income, and
- Provide verification of educational credentials (see checklist on application)
The Children’s Forum School-Age Services Program offers a multitude of services for schoolage care professionals. Workshops and seminars are available for after-school program staff, site directors, administrators, board members, and parents.
Download the School-Age Services Brochure