Issue #7: Early Care and Education Workforce

National, state, and local efforts to transform the early care and education (ECE) workforce continue, with exciting improvements on the horizon in 2019.

The big picture: Conversations are happening at the local, state, and federal levels to create change in the ECE profession. Work continued on the national Power to the Profession (P2P) initiative. P2P was launched in response to the ongoing reality seen across the country of a fragmented early childhood workforce. This fractured workforce within such a critical part of the nation’s economy (which supports millions of working parents and caregivers) results in uneven access to and quality of early childhood education offerings around the country. Composed of ECE professionals and advocates, P2P is working to create “a shared framework of career pathways, knowledge and competencies, qualifications, standards, and compensation that unifies the entire profession.” Since the process began in 2016, P2P has invited input from the field across the country on the framework, which it plans to release in spring 2019.

On the horizon: At the state and local levels, families, voters, and policymakers continue to prioritize investment in ECE as a way to improve educational, health, social, and economic outcomes. Twenty-nine governors (newly elected as well as re-elected) made ECE a priority during their campaigns, and election results will also have implications for state boards of education where new members will be appointed. In addition, the National Association of School Boards of Education (NASBE) has invested resources to increase awareness of ECE workforce issues among state boards of education members across the country. Also of interest, in 2018 the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at University of California, Berkeley, disseminated findings from its Early Childhood Workforce Index, which focuses on state ECE workforce conditions and policies and offers policy recommendations for states to implement. Access the Index report and associated materials here.

We’ll be tracking ongoing state and local policy discussions and actions to raise the bar on quality, address low provider compensation levels, and identify ways to increase provider preparation and professional development, among other issues affecting the ECE workforce.