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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) – Ten thousand child care workers will soon be receiving a bonus from the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

The federal government has provided $12.6 million in this round of Child Care Workforce Stabilization grants from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The second opportunity to receive grant funds runs from February 28 through March 18.

DHR began the program in November to help child care providers hire and keep their employees during pandemic recovery.

So far, 1,278 child care providers have been awarded grants. The grants will fund bonuses of $1,500 for full-time employees and $750 for part-time employees. Of all eligible child care providers in the state, 65% applied for and received grants. 10,065 employees will get bonuses in this round.

“The nationwide staffing shortage has tested the resilience of Alabama’s child care providers,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner in a statement. “As they continue to persevere, these bonuses will help recruit much-needed reinforcements and reward current employees for their dedicated service to the children and families of Alabama.”

Eligible employees may receive up to eight quarterly bonuses before the two-year grant period ends in September 2023.

Seven grant opportunities remain.

To qualify, child care providers must be open and in operation when they apply, and they must continue operating for at least one year after receiving a grant. Applicants must also be in good standing with DHR.

This is the third grant opportunity DHR has offered during the pandemic. The two previous opportunities awarded 2,427 grants totaling $56.8 million to help child care providers remain open.

Learn more about applications, grant schedules and additional eligibility requirements here.