MAAC commits to higher wages

MAAC raised its minimum wage to $18 an hour plus benefits, increasing to $19.38 by 2025. (Courtesy)

Assisting more than 75,000 people each year, the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on Anti-Poverty works to create a path for local families to self-sufficiency through advocacy and leadership development, economic development, education, health and well-being, and housing since 1965.

Headquartered in Chula Vista, MAAC provides services across San Diego County. In its commitment in providing its teachers, mental health counselors, and staff members, on Aug. 18, MAAC raised its minimum wage to $18 an hour plus benefits, increasing to $19.38 by 2025. MAAC currently has around 500 employees and is looking to fill around 100 positions, according to MAAC CEO and President Arnulfo Manriquez.

“We are an organization that began to fight anti-poverty,” he said. “It is important to us here at MAAC that our employees earn a living wage. Everything costs more now, and the minimum wage here is $15. That is not enough to support yourself, your family, so we are doing our best as an organization to ensure that our employees live better.”

In addition to increasing the minimum wage, MAAC raised salaries and wages of teachers and other staff members that are part of MAAC’s child development program, which provides care, education and resources to children ages 0-5 and their families. Effective this month, their wages increased by 12%, with additional raises throughout the contract to 19.5% by 2025.

“As one of the leading early childhood education providers in the region serving nearly 2,000 children, MAAC recognizes the important role that educators have in the first five years of a child’s life,” said Manriquez. “We have long advocated for the childcare sector to provide stronger pay, and this contract shows our strong commitment to assure the economic stability of our educators.”

MAAC provided increases to its mental health counselors last year, recognizing that it needed to remain competitive. MAAC worked with the Service International Union Local 221 to provide raises which averaged 20%, and over the span of the 2022-2025 contract, mental health counselors will receive an additional 10% increase. The new contract – covering a period of 39 months – is in line with the organization’s focus on economic advancement. Wage increases range from 14.5% to 27.5% over the contract period.

Manriquez said it is “extremely unusual” for nonprofits to work with unions, but its partnership with SEIU Local 21 has spanned over nearly 50 years.

“I am very proud of the agreement, as it reflects our core values. This is an increase that we adopted by choice because we believe it is the right thing to do. Most of our staff come from the communities we serve, and we want to give them the best opportunities for financial growth, while also ensuring the organization’s long-term sustainability. We are deeply committed to our MAAC familia,” he said.

For more information on MAAC, its programs and services, visit