While the state has made some investment in stabilizing the early education field, programs still struggle to attract staff and invest in permanent wage increases. “No employer is going to increase wages one year when they can’t guarantee to keep it in subsequent years,” said Eve Gilmore, CEO of Edward Street and chair of the Together for Kids Coalition. And the cost of care cannot be passed onto parents who are already straining under the cost. “Even middle-class people need a break when it comes to the cost of (early childhood education),” she said. Putting a 3- to 5-year-old through a program will on average cost between $10,000 to $13,000 per year, with an infant costing $18,000 to $22,000.