Greenville First Steps Seeks Childcare Employees

August has arrived, which means 75,000 Greenville County students will begin the annual first week of school ritual. Like their parents before them, these students will prepare for a new year of learning. However, unlike any generations before them, these families have to adjust to the “new normal” of self-directed learning and limited school schedules.

Following the CDC and SC DHEC recommendations, Greenville County Schools is currently opening at a limited capacity- ensuring class sizes are small enough that students can remain six feet apart from their peers even in classrooms. These limited seating plans have reduced the number of days a student attends school in a face to face setting to one to two days a week. This leaves students in need of full-day care so their parents can return to work.

“It’s a real challenge,” says Derek Lewis, Executive Director of Greenville First Steps, and father of a 9-year-old Greenville Schools 4th grader. “Parents shouldn’t have to choose between going to work- feeding our families, keeping them housed and clothed, or staying home so they can learn.”

Recognizing the unique challenges this limited class schedule causes for students and their families, Greenville First Steps has partnered with Greenville County to allocate $2 million in CARES ACT funding to support childcare, afterschool, and enrichment providers who are stepping in to fill the void.

“We have this incredible network of hundreds of providers, who offer childcare and afterschool care all across the county,” says Lewis. “These hardworking providers come in all shapes and sizes- some faith-based providers, others nonprofits, and others for-profit small businesses have all pivoted to address this community need. It is our goal that this network will help us serve 8,000-10,000 students across the county.”

To support providers, one-time upfront grants ranging from $2,500 to $12,500 are available to help cover start-up and staffing costs incurred by providers. If any entity is interested in offering full-day care for school-aged students at their facility, they should visit to learn how to request these funds.

There are also opportunities for individuals seeking employment caring for children or providing support work such as food or custodial services.

“We need upwards of 400 adults to step into this sector to provide the necessary workforce to expand these childcare and afterschool programs. Without these engaged staff members, the centers cannot expand their services,” Lewis explained.

Eligible workers would need to pass a SLED background check and must be at least 18 years of age. Anyone interested can submit a resume to and their information will be shared with providers seeking new employees.