Poplar Bluff Head Start receives stimulus money

By Tyler Profilet - bio | email

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - The Poplar Bluff Head Start program received a $1.3 million stimulus grant to expand to 80 more children and add 35 new jobs.

When Ann Smith of the South Central Missouri Community Action Agency posted 35 job openings for the Poplar Bluff Head Start program, she didn't know what kind of response to expect.

"A lot more than what we anticipated. We were amazed at the number of people that came out to turn in their application that day," she said.

More than 100 people applied for the 35 spots, and Smith was impressed with the applicant's qualifications.

"There were people with bachelors degrees and masters degrees that were currently employed making minimum wage," she said. "The economy has definitely had an effect on the people needing employment in this area. That makes you want to have 100 positions for those 100 people who need jobs."

The available positions range from management, teachers, and cooks.

Jodi Rice is one of the new employees.

After her former company downsized, she was excited to land a job as a center director.

"I'm extremely excited because it's only going to benefit the families and the children that we're going to be servicing," Rice said.

Along with the jobs, the service will be offered free of charge for 80 more families, and Rice says she expects the spots to fill quickly as more importance is put on early childhood education.

"It's extremely important because the parents are ultimately their first teacher before the teachers within the classroom setting," she said.

The recruitment for new students begins this week and will continue until the end of next week. Interested families need to contact the Poplar Bluff Head Start office at 573-785-2372.

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