A stronger, more effective early care and education (ECE) workforce is essential for supporting children’s development. Yet the nation’s ECE workforce faces many challenges, including inadequate compensation that varies widely by jurisdiction, high staff turnover, and disparities in training and resources across the ECE sector. To address these challenges, states are working to implement new policies and establish new requirements to better support their ECE workforces. For instance, some states have increased the minimum wage or established salary parity policies for pre-kindergarten and K-3 teachers. Other states have set minimum qualification requirements for their child care or pre-kindergarten lead teachers.
This project aims to improve the ECE field’s understanding of the various policies and funding decisions that states are implementing to support their ECE workforces, and how these system-level changes impact ECE staff and the children they serve.
Resources developed through this project
Child Trends is developing a set of resources to advance this goal, including the State Spotlights linked below, which highlight innovative strategies that specific states have used to strengthen their ECE workforces and address issues facing the field.
Highlighting innovative strategies to support the ECE workforce
- Examining Regional Differences in the Nebraska Early Care and Education Workforce
- Spotlight on Arkansas’ Fiscal Health Initiative for Early Childhood Education Providers
- Spotlight on Early Learning Indiana’s Partnerships for Early Learners
- Spotlight on Georgia’s Project LITTLE
- Spotlight on Louisiana’s Early Childhood Ancillary Certificate
- Spotlight on Minnesota’s R.E.E.T.A.I.N. Grant Program
- Spotlight on Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Education Apprenticeship Program
- Spotlight on the Montana Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program
Ongoing research to support the ECE workforce
As the work of this project continues, Child Trends researchers will also:
- Examine how the ECE workforce is distributed geographically across states, and how that distribution relates to available supports, resources, and staff well-being.
- Explore the effects of compensation parity policies on the ECE workforce.
- Create a forecasting tool that states can use to estimate the costs associated with policy decisions intended to increase ECE workforce qualifications.
We will update this page as new resources from this project become available. If you have questions about this work, please contact Julianna Carlson.
We are grateful for the generous financial support of the Foundation for Child Development and the input of UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment.