Great START Wage Supplement Program

Great START (Strategy to Attract and Retain Teachers) is a wage supplement program that rewards eligible early care and education and school-age care practitioners for receiving higher education and for remaining at their current place of employment.

Great START was introduced into legislation in June 2000 and permanently signed into law in 2004. The Great START Program is administered by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) and funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Bureau of Child Care and Development.

Program Specifics

  • Great START rewards eligible practitioners by supplementing their income based on education attained above Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) licensing standards.

  • Great START wage supplements are paid directly to the eligible practitioner on a six-month schedule based on continuing to meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Great START helps retain employees, which increases quality and consistent care to the children, without raising parent fees.


Gateways to Opportunity is funded by public and private support including the McCormick Foundation, the Grand Victoria Foundation,    

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