PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Early learning centers across the state have a really important message. They say if you are looking for work, they are looking to hire.
"Anybody that is over the age of 18, with a high school diploma - they qualify," said Damaris Alvarado-Rodriguez Executive Director at Children's Playhouse.
Alvarado-Rodriguez is the Executive Director of two childcare learning centers in the area and she said if you are looking for a job, she is looking to make you a member of the team.
"We do have on the job training and also education assistance, so we do help them in getting their certificates, going back to school and eventually become teachers," she said.
She's on a mission, along with over 500 other early learning centers throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, looking to fill open positions.
"The shortages. I have classrooms that are not open, a huge waiting list just waiting for teachers to come in," she said.
Our Data Journalist, did some digging and found this a major issue. Research shows 79% of childcare centers across the state are facing staffing shortages. Of those, 60% are serving fewer children, 41% have longer waiting lists, 30% are unable to open classrooms and 27% have been forced to reduce their operating hours.
It's a trickle down effect that impacts everyone.
"We are having a staffing crisis and this staffing crisis is effecting the economy. It's stalling the economy because childcare is the engine that runs the economy," said Lisa Dugan from Wonder Spring Early Education.
Dugan says her centers are feeling the pain.
"Centers across the region are chronically understaffed. This is a brand new gorgeous center that we just built. It could hold 123 children. We have 25 right now because we don't have the staff," said Dugan.
Early Learning Centers, are hoping a region-wide, day-long hiring event will help switch the numbers in their favor. Applicants are encouraged to walk-in for on the spot interviews, with the hopes of walking away with a new job.
Many are offering great benefits and signing bonuses. They just need people to show up and apply.
"Childcare can be an incredibly rewarding career. It is an opportunity to change the lives of children, of families, of communities," said Dugan.
Keep in mind that if you can't make it out to the hiring events on October 7, you can always go the facilities websites in your area to take a closer look at the hiring information and the candidates that they are looking for.
For more information on Early Learning Center jobs, visit: ECEHire.com